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Crowd shocked at Pakistani players’ conduct

Pakistan Hockey coach Shahnaz Sheikh and Captain Muhammad Imran with rose at a press conference after the final of the Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Pakistan Hockey coach Shahnaz Sheikh and Captain Muhammad Imran with rose at a press conference after the final of the Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena  

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What happened is unacceptable to the Pakistan federation and the entire hockey community: coach

The behaviour of the Pakistani players after their 4-3 win over India in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy at the Kalinga Stadium here shocked the crowds as the spectators had been warm and appreciative till that point.

They players burst into wild celebrations by taking off their jerseys and making abusive gestures at the spectators. Many of them had stood up to applaud the Pakistan team after their victory, but the unprovoked behaviour of the “Green Shirts” angered the crowd, which got into heated exchanges with the Pakistani players.

On Sunday, just before the final against Germany, angry fans were booing the Pakistan team all the while, even when its national anthem was played. They loudly cheered the German side throughout the game.

Tournament director Wiert Doyer, who had ruled initially that no further action was warranted after the coach’s apology, had a tougher view of their behaviour in his review. He took video footage on social media as evidence to conduct separate hearings, where the players concerned “accepted the breach of the code of conduct.” Accordingly, the FIH found that these players had committed a Level 1 offence, he said.

Hockey India president Narinder Kumar Batra remained critical of FIH’s initial approach. “Why did FIH react so leniently initially? Why wait for a strong statement from HI and then realise the gravity of the unacceptable behaviour of the Pakistan players?” he told The Hindu.

“FIH should appoint efficient tournament directors and not the kind who was here [Wiert Doyer]. He was only looking to brush the incident under the carpet,” Mr. Batra said.

Pakistani head coach Shahnaz Sheikh said in a statement that his players’ behaviour was “unacceptable to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and the entire hockey community” and should not have happened. “I explained to them that they are guests in India and as hosts, they have been very hospitable to the team ... I have written to the tournament director and sincerely apologised” for the incident.

Tight security

The police tightened security for the Pakistani team and the Kalinga Stadium. From players’ hotel to the venue, additional forces were deployed.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 12:24:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/champions-trophy-2014-indiapakistan-semifinal/article6691380.ece

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