The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) is confident of resolving the rift between the national bodies governing the game in India and Pakistan. Trying to play peace-broker, AHF’s chief executive Tayyab Ikram said that the hockey fraternity was making some constructive efforts to resolve the rift between the sub- continental neighbours.
“We’re trying some constructive efforts to bring them together and try to eliminate those disputes. But then, it is more political than anything,” Ikram told reporters during the ongoing 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
India and Pakistan occasionally meet on the hockey pitch during events conducted directly by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Asian Hockey Federation, but India’s national federation has taken a stand that it would not send the team to any other invitational tournament where Pakistan are invited.
Hockey India has demanded an apology from Pakistan for the behavior of their players, whose celebrations went over the top after a semifinal victory over India in the 2014 FIH Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar.
India last month announced withdrawal of their junior team from the Sultan of Johor Cup tournament, to be played in November in Johor Bahru (Malaysia), because an invitation had gone out to Pakistan.
“The rift is not good for Asia, and it is not good for international hockey,” said Ikram. “For hockey, these two Asian nations are still very important.
“We, in hockey, have the best opportunity to bring the two nations together. No other platform can help as much,” he said.
Hopeful of finding a positive result soon, Ikram said, “It’s on my daily agenda, we’re working on it.”
Ikram said the AHF was considering a different event menu to get the two nations to play together.
“If the two nations cannot play each other in isolated tournaments, perhaps we in the AHF could present them something other than the Asia Cup and the Asian Champions Trophy,” he said.
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