India pulls out of hockey event because Pakistan’s participating

Pakistan Hockey
Pakistan' Shakeep Butt Ammad gestures to spectators to keep quiet as he and teammates celebrate their victory over India during their Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 semi final match at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on December 13, 2014. — AFP

India will not feature in the upcoming Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia for the second time in a row citing Pakistan’s presence in the event, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Thursday.

Hockey India (HI), the country’s administrative body for the game, said the Sultan of Johor Cup is an invitational tournament and it would continue it’s stand of not taking part in any tournament featuring Pakistan until their hockey authorities tender an unconditional apology for the 2014 Champions Trophy controversy.

The event, which will be held in October, is not a global tournament held under the supervision of Federation of International Hockey (FIH) or any other continental body.
In January, HI announced its decision not to play any tournament against Pakistan until they submit a apology for the alleged unprofessional behaviour by the Pakistan team during the Champions Trophy in India in 2014.

This was not the only concern HI voiced. Before the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) alleged that India did not want Pakistan to take part in the tournament. India had rejected the claim outright. Eventually, Pakistan did not take part in the tournament.

“Though Hockey India and its players had let go of the hurtful incident in 2014, it was the recent allegations by PHF [during the Junior World Cup] that has resulted in India pulling out of this tournament. By not fielding the Indian team at the Sultan of Johor Cup, we have stood our ground to not take part in any series against Pakistan until they submit an unconditional apology for what happened in 2014,” said Hockey India spokesperson RP Singh.

“Since the Sultan of Johor Cup is not a mandatory tournament, Hockey India has decided that it will withdraw from the tournament. We had not brought up the bad behaviour on part of Pakistan during the Champions Trophy in 2014 for a very long time.

“It is actually PHF who bring it up again and levy baseless allegations against Hockey India to hide their own incompetency. It is about time PHF takes responsibility for it’s incapability,” he added.