Taking a firm stand, Hockey India today made it clear that it won't play any bilateral series with Pakistan unless the country's federation submits an unconditional written apology for the unprofessional behaviour of its players during the 2014 Champions Trophy.
Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Shahbaz Ahmad had recently alleged that their team was denied participation in the junior World Cup last year in Lucknow only because of the Champions Trophy semifinal incident in Bhubaneswar.
Pakistani players had taken off their shirts and made obscene gestures at the crowd after winning the semi-final against India.
However, Hockey India said the sole reason for Pakistan missing the World Cup was their late visa applications.
"The Pakistan Hockey Federation failed to submit the visa applications for their team 60 days prior to the start of the tournament as per the required deadlines as stipulated in the permissions of the Government of India....Since Pakistan Hockey Federation failed to adhere to the deadlines for the submission of their visa's, Hockey India cannot be blamed for the consequent rejection of invitation by FIH," a statement from Hockey India said.
"FIH also sent numerous reminders for (sic) Pakistan Hockey Federation for the submission of the Pakistan teams visa, the decision of FIH to withdraw the Pakistan Hockey team from the Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 was solely at their discretion and has nothing to do with Hockey India."
RP Singh, Athlete Representative on the Executive Board of Hockey India, said it's a "shame" that PHF has again raised the issue of the misbehaviour of their team as an excuse and opportunity to blame Hockey India for their "own incompetence" that resulted in the Pakistan team not participating in the Junior World Cup 2016.
"In light of this and the perpetual lies told by Pakistan Hockey Federation to blame others for their own inefficiencies, Hockey India has again taken the decision to not play any bi-lateral series against Pakistan unless they submit an unconditional regret in writing for the lewd and unprofessional behaviour of the Pakistan team during the FIH Champions Trophy 2014 and their habit of telling perpetual lies to media regarding Hockey India.
"We once again reiterate that Pakistan Hockey Federation should learn to take responsibility for their incompetence and incapabilities and stop blaming India to please their local audience. It is high time Pakistan Hockey Federation learns to work as an Organisation and stops blaming others for their own internal problems," Singh was quoted as saying in the Hockey India release.--PTI