New Delhi/Lahore: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has omitted Pakistan from the Junior World Cup to be held in Lucknow next month, prompting the country's federation to blame India for the debacle.
According to the FIH, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had failed to meet the official deadline for submitting the travel documents of its players.
The game's world governing body announced Malaysia as a replacement for Pakistan in the tournament which will start on December 8 at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.
"The FIH regrets that Pakistan's men's junior team will not be able to take part in this year's Junior World Cup to be held in Uttar Pradesh even though they had officially qualified. The FIH's decision follows considerable discussions with the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and requests for confirmation that they had the necessary arrangements in place to be able to participate in the event," the FIH said.
"Visas had been applied for after the official deadline and no accommodation was confirmed within the set deadlines. Despite a number of correspondence and reminders," a statement from the FIH added.
"The PHF was not able to show that their team would be able to travel to Lucknow for the event which begins in only a few days' time. The FIH has substantial contractual obligations to its partners to deliver a full number of matches at the forthcoming Junior Hockey World Cup for men."
The FIH said, "With the event starting in only a few days' time, today (Tuesday) was the last possibility for FIH to ensure the quality of the event, with a full complement of 16 teams playing in Lucknow."
The PHF, however, lashed out at the FIH, terming the world body's move as "pre-planned". PHF Secretary Shehbaz Ahmed shifted the blame to India.
"Pakistan did not delay any schedule obligation and it is all India's fault to not issue visa to Pakistan's delegation before deadline," Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper on Tuesday.
"Our government had timely issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for players to take part in the tournament, but it is sad that Pakistan will not be able to take part in the Junior Hockey World Cup. We had planned training camps for our players so how can we delay any schedule to jeopardise our participation," he maintained.
"I had already seen it coming that this decision by FIH is going to go against Pakistan."
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