Sep 27, 2015

FIH's intervention required to resolve India-Pakistan dispute

India-Pakistan hockey times should resume at the earliest

Just before recent Hockey India League player auctions, Hockey India President Narinder Batra was asked about the participation of Pakistan players in the tournament. Batra replied by saying that Pakistan players first needs to apologise for the incident that happened during last year’s Champions Trophy. Pakistan Hockey Federation naturally refused to apologise once again for the incident and asked FIH to intervene in the issue to resolve the problem. 

Surprisingly, FIH refused to intervene in the issue and saying the issue has to be resolved by Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation without any outside help. Flashback to 2014, after India lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals of Champions Trophy, the Pakistan team broke out to a wild celebration which was in bad taste. There was huge hue and cry after the incident which forced the tournament officials to ban Pakistan players and the team along with the coach was forced to apologise. The matter should have ended then and there only with appropriate punishment handed out to the players involved and apology from the Pakistan coach and captain. 

Despite receiving the apology, Narinder Batra once again decided to raise the issue before HIL auctions and the FIH’s approach to stay out of the matter is quite baffling. 

It is well known that Asian hockey is in doldrums with only India and Pakistan left as the flag bearers of Asian Hockey. Korea’s hockey program has already taken a hit due to budget cuts while Malaysia will need at least 10-15 years to challenge top European teams. If India and Pakistan continue to keep on their petty fights, the day will not be far when Asian hockey will die a painful death due to tussles between hockey federations of India and Pakistan. 

Asian audience is a huge cash cow for FIH and India-Pakistan encounters are always full house in every tournament played. If, India and Pakistan continue to fight with each other, there will be no fun left in the game. 

Recently when Pakistan Hockey Federation was having serious cash troubles, Hockey India president Narinder Batra came forward to help ailing PHF. If, Batraji can help Pakistan Hockey Federation then why not help them by allowing their players to participate in Hockey India League?

FIH has always talked about expanding the game to different parts of the world and India-Pakistan matches are a great advertisement for hockey. All the encounters between India and Pakistan have been house fill despite the game being played in any part of the world. Hockey’s image took a huge hit when it was among the sports which were discussed for culling in the upcoming Olympics. Though it survived the cull, it put FIH into action for improvement in the sport. By having regular India-Pakistan encounters, FIH can increase the interest of masses in the game. 

There is no bigger rivalry in hockey than India-Pakistan hockey in the world. If the rivalry is to continue among the both these nations, they will have to play against each other on regular basis and allow the players to participate in hockey leagues. The world governing body, FIH should have a serious talk about this and ask both the federations to resolve their differences because a strong India and Pakistan will lead to strong world hockey. 

P.S- Pakistan Hockey Federation is planning its own Hockey India League style league for the players. Perhaps, they could have Narinder Batra on advisory committee and learn from one of the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment