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PHF upset over captain's ban
December 02, 2005 18:23 IST
The Pakistan Hockey Federation on Friday said captain Mohammad Saqlain will depart for Chennai, for the Champions Trophy, on Saturday along with the rest of the national team despite a three-match ban imposed on him by the International Hockey Federation.
"After the FIH ban, we have two options available – to accept the ban or to challenge it. But any decision on this would be taken after consulting our legal advisors. But it has been decided that Saqlain would travel to Chennai for the Champions Trophy," PHF secretary Musarratullah Khan said.
The tournament begins on December 10.
Saqlain was banned and fined 1,000 euros by the FIH after being found guilty of deliberately hitting Australian player Craig Victory during a four-nation tournament in August in Hamburg.
Musarratullah said if the PHF decides to challenge the decision, the appeal would be filed with the International Olympic Committee arbitrators.
"If our appeal is accepted, FIH's decision would be withheld and Saqlain will be available for international matches until the arbitrators convey their decision.
"The absence of Saqlain is definitely a big blow for the Pakistan hockey team because any team doesn't like to go into a major event without its captain. Nevertheless, I am sure that the boys would remain positive," Musarratullah said.
Musarratullah, a retired army brigadier, was critical of the FIH Technical Committee.
"In the last three months, our three players have been accused of rough tackling by the technical bench although the umpires neither warned nor carded them for those offenses.
"The conclusion is easy to be drawn; either the umpires are incompetent or the technical bench is acting over-smart. We highlighted this fact in the FIH Congress but even then the ban was slapped on Saqlain," Musarratullah said.
Saqlain has a poor disciplinary record. He has previously been banned four times for rough tackling. He also missed the Athens Champions Trophy after clashing with coach Roland Oltmans. Nevertheless, Saqlain pleaded that was innocent in this particular case.
"I never target any player nor my aim is to injure anyone. This was one of those incidents that can happen. You have to understand that like any other sport, hockey is also a dangerous game where players get injured. But was not warned or carded for this offense," Saqlain said.