PHF withdraws its players from Hockey India League


The Pakistan Hockey Federation has withdrawn its eight national players from Hockey India league (HIL) and they are returning home from the first available flight after Hind extremists Party Shiv Sinha staged a protest during the inaugural ceremony of the event at New Delhi.
“Our players are returning home as soon as possible as we have made arrangements for their come back in the wake of two demonstrations held during past two days at Mombay and New Delhi,” said Mohammad Asif Bajwa, Secretary, PHF at a news conference here on Tuesday.
He said the players Kashif Shah, Shafqat Rasool, Rizwan Senior, Rizwan Jr, Rashid Mahmood, Mohammad Tauseeq ,Farid Ahmed, Imran Butt and Irfan Senior were a part of the HIL and Hockey India and Indian authorities assured safety and security of the players but two protests by Shive Sinha left the PHF with no option but to withdraw its players from the event in the larger interest of their safety.
“It was unfortunate that on the opening ceremony of the league a group of Shiv Sinha activists entered the stadium and chanted slogans against Pakistani players who were drawn in various teams of the league,” he said adding “ They gave dire consequences and hurled threats individually to all the Pakistani players which left the players in shock and pressure and posed a question mark on their safety “. Bajwa said he held a meeting with the President, PHF, Qasim Zia on the issue and then the matter was also discussed with the Secretary Hockey India, Narinder Batra and then It was decided to call back the Pakistani players. “ HI Secretary was also concerned with the situation and he agreed to the PHF decision that Pak players be withdrawn from the event,” he said.
To a question Bajwa said prior to the inauguration of the league Pakistani players faced a similar situation at Mombay hockey round during a practice match when Shiv Sinha activists staged a demonstration against their participation in the league. “ These incidents showed that our players are not safe and secure in India and we cannot risk their participation in the league,” he said while answering to a question.
Bajwa said these incidents have not only posed a big question mark on the safety of the Pakistani players but also on all the foreign players who are participating in the league .
“ HI has assured that the contracts of these players will remain intact and they will be paid their full contract fee of participation for this addition of the league,” he said. Secretary PHF said the incident will have no impact on the Pak-India bilateral hockey series being played in March this year .
“ But we will make sure that such incidents do not happen in future and we will get assurance from HI and concerned quarters before playing Pak-India series and the participation of Pak players in next chapter of the league ”,he added. “ Our main concern is that our hockey events taking place in future in India go without any problem,” he said.