India to let Pakistan decide the neutral venue
Lahore: India has left it to Pakistan to decide about neutral venue for the mutual hockey league matches. Both countries’ hockey authorities will meet once again to discuss the possibility of playing Junior World Cup at Jalandhar this year.
The traditional rivals understand how important it is to play the series to promote hockey in Asia and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has planned for both the neighboring countries to play the ‘home-and-away’ league series at a neutral place. Pakistan has already given its consent for playing at a neutral venue because of the security problems.
PHF has already indicated its willingness as the matter was sorted out before the FIH elections in Dubai. Even the controversy arising out of the 2014 Champions Trophy semi-final was resolved and there was no pending issue left to be discussed.
Regarding the inclusion of Pakistani players in the Hockey India league, Narinder Butra said, “It depends on the franchises. There will only be a mini auction involving 8-10 players for the next edition and it is up to the franchises whether they want to take players of the neighboring country or not.”
On the other end Secretary PHF Shahbaz senior said the FIH congress meeting at Dubai was held in a very cordial atmosphere in which Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) chief and FIH president Narindar Butra was present. Both the sides agreed to make a way forward and take positive measures to promote Asian hockey by allowing both the teams to play the series.
While speaking to media, it was also disclosed that the second round of talks would take place during the Junior world cup scheduled in Jalandhar, India and if it doesn’t happen for some reason, it could be shifted to Delhi next year when the FIH meeting takes place.