India asks Apology, Rejected by Pakistan Hockey Federation
ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the demand of Indian Hockey President Narender Batra for an apology, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Wednesday asked the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) to take stern action against their counterpart’s harsh statement.
Batra, in a press statement, had said that he would love to have Pakistani players in the Hockey India League (HIL) but not with the kind of behaviour they displayed in the Champions Trophy (CT) held last year in India.
Following the final hooter at the CT, Pakistani players made gestures towards the Indian fans at the Kalinga Stadium. But chief coach Shahnaz Sheikh later apologised for the incident. However, on Tuesday Batra asked for an apology by the PHF and made it clear that India won’t play Pakistan in a friendly series or IHL.
Talking to APP, newly-elected PHF Secretary Shahbaz Senior said on Wednesday that absolutely no apology would be given to Batra. “If they have an issue with PHF they should have sent it in writing, but this kind of conduct is totally intolerable.”
Shahbaz, who led his team to the 1994 Hockey World Cup victory, said Batra’s statement was completely against the spirit of sports and the FIH and AHF should take serious notice of it. “Sports are something in which players and athletes make friends all over and the country’s politics should be kept aside from this,” he said.
He further added that it looked very strange that Batra was demanding an apology now while the CT was held several months ago. “It is really disappointing and awkward,” said Shahbaz.
Shahbaz, who was also nicknamed as the Maradona of hockey during his playing days, said the PHF won’t give any in to India’s absurd demands as Shahnaz Sheikh has already apologized for the incident. “The PHF won’t go down for India,” he said.
Speaking about the internal hockey affairs, Shahbaz said, “We have requested the government for grant and hopefully will get it next week. We have sent the details to the government of the expenditures that will be needed for participation in different tournaments.”
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