Hockey

The HuJI threat and reaction

The New Zealand team has deferred its departure from Perth to New Delhi for the Hero Honda hockey World Cup starting on Feb. 28 while Hockey Australia has issued a statement expressing its assessment of the situation on Wednesday.

These developments are linked to the warning posted in the Asia Times Online by the POK-based Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) threatening sportsmen and women from travelling to India for the World Cup, IPL and Commonwealth Games.

Hockey Australia's statement refers to the report in Asia Times Online and states that “it is currently awaiting the assessment regarding the legitimacy of the threat. Until we receive further advice our plans will remain unchanged. This information will be received prior to the team departing for the World Cup.”

“The security of our team and staff is of utmost importance. As such we are placing a high priority on security plans for this important international event,” said Mark Anderson, Executive Secretary, and added “Hockey Australia has been in contact with a range of security experts and officials for several months both in Australia and India. We have a process in place for assessing emerging threats and changing conditions. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is currently assessing the reported threat and we will continue to maintain close communication regarding this, and all other security issues.

“We will continue to take advice from a range of security sources prior to the Kookaburras travel to India for the World Cup. The team's safety will remain of paramount importance,” Anderson, said.

No consequence

Meanwhile, Australia's coach, Ric Charlesworth, has dismissed on Wednesday the threat as of no consequence in an ABC panel discussion on the issue of security in the context of World Cup and IPL. Charlesworth said: “Having lived in India there are all sorts of threats every day and there are 80 news channels. Everyone is looking for a story. There is always a story like that. I don't think we can distract ourselves with that. There are people who know better than us who are looking at these things closely and they'll advise us.”

But the Kiwis appear more concerned in their response stating that the team will remain in Perth until further notice. The team is scheduled to leave for Delhi on Feb. 22.

Hilary Poole, Hockey New Zealand CEO says “the safety of the players, coaches and team management is of paramount importance, at this stage it makes sense to further assess the situation before sending the team to Delhi. We have been monitoring this situation all along. But the events over the past 24 hours lead us to reassess the situation.”

The statement added that HNZ has been receiving security advice from the NZ Government — which is part of the Combined Government Response team, which includes England, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

It has also been working closely with the FIH (International Federation of Hockey) and other national hockey associations in terms of security arrangements for the World Cup event and other sporting bodies such as New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association.


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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 1:53:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/The-HuJI-threat-and-reaction/article16815518.ece

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