No FIH event in India till Pakistan players are punished: Hockey India

Pakistan team members celebrate after beating India in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy hockey at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on Saturday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Pakistan team members celebrate after beating India in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy hockey at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on Saturday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena  


Taking strong exception to FIH’s “weak” censure to Pakistani players for their obscene behaviour after beating India in the Champions Trophy semifinal, Hockey India on Sunday decided that it would not host any event sanctioned by the world body until strong punishment is handed out to the offenders.

The Pakistani players made obscene gestures towards Indian fans and media after their win last night but no action was taken against them by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) after their coach Shahnaz Sheikh offered an apology.

“It was a shameless and condemnable incident but the FIH took a very weak and feeble decision. It is not acceptable to us. We have made it clear to FIH that such sort of behaviour from sportspersons is not acceptable to Indians,” HI president Narinder Batra told PTI from New Delhi.

“So we have decided not to host any FIH tournaments in India after the Women’s World League Round 3 scheduled in March, which includes the 2018 Men’s World Cup, if they don’t take any strong action against Pakistan,” he said.

Soon after their 4-3 win, Pakistani players went into frenzy and started celebrating their victory in a wild fashion. They removed their shirts, used foul language and made obscene gestures towards the crowd and media, prompting their coach Shahnaz to come into action and take away his players.

Tournament Director Wiert Doyer, who was asked to carry out an inquiry into the matter, then spoke to the Pakistani camp and said FIH has accepted their apology. But Batra said a mere apology is not enough.

“If FIH rules and regulations permit such uncivilized behaviour then they should hold their tournaments in any other country not India because Indian culture and values don’t permit such acts,” the HI chief said.

India and Pakistan were scheduled to resume their bilateral hockey series at a neutral venue in Dhaka soon, but Batra said India will not play any bilateral series with Pakistan after this incident.

“We have decided not to play any bilateral or trilateral series against Pakistan until and unless the Pakistan Hockey Federation gives an unconditional apology for this incident in writing,” he said.

The FIH also has to share the blame for the fiasco as they conducted a hurried investigation into the incident and came out with their views within hours.

“The celebration of the Pakistani team contained some behaviour that warranted further investigation by me as Tournament Director. As a result I have spoken to the Head Coach of the Pakistan team, Shahnaz Sheikh and told him that the behaviour of Pakistan players went beyond what is acceptable to standards of the FIH,” Tournament Director Doyer, who was in charge of the investigation, said in a statement last night.

“The behaviour in question concerned many members of the Pakistan team. It is difficult to find any particular miscreant, and it is possible that the behaviour of the players may have been a reaction. Shahnaz Sheikh has apologised and assured me that this behaviour will not occur again. Given these matters, I’ve decided that no further action is warranted,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 8:39:14 AM |

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