New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Hockey India (HI) was forced to withdraw the men's team from the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) refused to pay for the air travel for the tournament to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia March 9-17.
HI said SAI has made it clear that the men's team will play the tournament at no cost to government.
"Hockey India has been forced to withdraw its participation from the tournament. Government has always covered the airfare of the team for this tournament till date," HI said in a statement.
This is the first time five-time champions India will be skipping the tournament. They finished third in the last edition in 2012 and were joint winners in 2010 with South Korea. They were winners in 2009 as well.
The tournament would have provided India the much needed exposure of playing against higher-ranked teams like Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Korea.
Earlier this month, HI selectors and government observer had announced the team that would be led by Danish Mujtaba. The team was undergoing training here with the prior sanction of the SAI. The camp will also be called off.
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament is an A-Grade tournament sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).