Pakistan Hockey Federation officials will meet with the International Hockey Federation President Narendra Batra in Dubai on September 10 to discuss the participation of their team in next year’s World Cup, to be held in India, PTI reported.
PHF president Brigadier (Retd) Khalid Khokar and secretary Shahbaz Ahmed want to get a guarantee from the FIH chief, who also headed Hockey India until recently, that Pakistan players will be issued visas to travel to India for the mega event.
“The PHF president and secretary are worried because of the way the Indian Consulate in Islamabad has refused visas to Pakistani sportsmen and women in recent times,” an official told the agency. “Their concerns stem from the way the national hockey junior team was denied visas for the World Junior Cup last year in India.”
The official added that Khokar and Shahbaz also wanted to meet with Batra to clear misunderstandings that linger on due to the 2014 Champions Trophy episode in India when Pakistani players went overboard in their celebrations after beating India in the semi-final. Batra was at the forefront of criticising the PHF and sought an apology after that incident.
“After the Junior World Cup the PHF also got a shock when the organisers of a top tournament in Malaysia at the last moment dropped Pakistan from the participants and the feeling was that Hockey India had played a role in this decision,” he said.
Another official said that Khokar and Shahbaz wanted to make it clear to Batra that as FIH president he has to ensure Pakistan go to India for the world event even if political relations between Pakistan and India didn’t improve by then.
He said that there would also be some discussions regarding the possibility of having a bilateral series with India in a Gulf country next year.