FIH cracks whip on erring Pakistan players

FIH cracks whip on erring Pakistan players

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Sunday cracked whip on three Pakistani players for their vulgar post-match celebrations after Hockey India threatened the governing body of giving up their hosting rights of all future events in the country.

A group of Pakistani players, after edging past India 4-3 in an intensely-fought Champions Trophy semifinal on Saturday, hurled abuses and showed obscene gestures towards the public in the stands here at the Kalinga stadium.
FIH had initially stated that the celebrations were just a ‘reaction’ and didn’t warrant any stern action. It prompted HI president Narinder Batra to issue a threat on his Facebook page this morning, and the FIH was forced into taking a swift action on the erring players.

Following a hearing with the concerned players -- Ali Amjad, Muhammad Tousiq and Safqat Rasool -- and head coach Shahnaz Sheikh hours before the final against Germany, the FIH decided to ban two players with immediate effect while letting off Rasool with a reprimand.

In separate statements, FIH said that both Amjad and Tousiq accepted making obscene gestures and were found guilty of violating Code of Conduct Level 1. Rasool, who interestingly was found guilty of the same offence, escaped with just an official reprimand.

After the hearing, FIH representative Ken Read addressed the media where he read out a statement of apology from the Pakistani coach. “The incident that occurred after the match between India and Pakistan on December 13 contained behaviour that is considered unacceptable to Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and the entire hockey community.

“Our opinion is that the behaviour of our players should not have occurred. In addition, I have written to the Tournament Director -- Wiert Doyer -- and sincerely apologise for the behaviour of a few players. I have also spoken with the president and secretary-general of PHF who both agree that the behaviour was not acceptable and they would also submit their regrets to our kind hosts Hockey India and the Indian public,” Shahnaz concluded.
Later, Shahnaz said in the post match press conference that they had also mailed an apology to HI chief Batra.
Earlier, Batra’s threat put FIH on its toes with the governing body changing their view on the unsavoury episode. “I am instructing my CEO (Elena Norman) to inform FIH that in case this kind of behaviour by teams is within normal and tolerable limits of FIH then we may not be interested to host any more tournaments in India and the tournaments may be shifted to countries which tolerate this kind of nonsense and uncouth behavior,” said Batra on his Facebook page.

“Further there will now be no friendly series on annual basis with Pakistan until an unconditional apology is received from PHF on the uncouth and undesired behaviour of their athletes with spectators and media after the semifinals on 13 December 2014.”
With India set to host the Junior World Cup in 2016 and the Senior World Cup in 2018 and being one of the major revenue houses, FIH was left with no option but to take a U-turn.

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