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Pakistani players may opt out of WSH

Source: PTI
November 15, 2011 16:37 IST

Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has categorically said their players will not be a part of the $2 million World Series Hockey to be held in India from next month otherwise they might face ban from domestic Hockey.

"There is no question of Pakistani players taking part in WSH. Not a single player will play. Chinese team is touring Pakistan from December 19 and our national team will play against them," PHF general secretary Asif Bajwa said.

"FIH has written a letter to us which clearly states that this league is unsanctioned. Our national team members will not take part in it and those who are not in the team at present will also follow the suit," he said.

"All the players who are affiliated with our units will have to avoid this league."

WSH is a lucrative league organised by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Nimbus Sports. IHF is not affiliated to the FIH and the world body recognises Hockey India (HI) as the national federation for Hockey in India.

FIH has also threatened to bar the players from its future tournament if they take part in WSH.

In the same letter, the world body has suggested them to wait till 2013 when FIH and Hockey India will launch their own world league.

As many as nine players from Pakistan have signed the contract with WSH and striker Rehan Butt is the captain of one of the eight franchise.

Rehan also admitted that it is now very difficult for them to be a part of this league.

"I don't think that we will be able to play in current circumstances. I have sent the copy of FIH letter to Nimbus yesterday and asked them to clarify the position. They have asked for three days. I am waiting for their reply," he said.

"It is clearly mentioned in our contract that we can stay out of the league if our job is in jeopardy. In present scenario, if we play the league then not only we will have to face ban from international and domestic Hockey but might loose our jobs," said Rehan.

Earlier, it was stated that those who have signed the contract before 28th March 2011 can play in the league but now the situation has changed as FIH has termed the league 'unsanctioned'.

"We were told that those players who signed the contract before 28th March 2011 can play but that is not the case now. We have asked the organisers to clear the air," said the 31-year-old.

Former captain and ace defender Zeeshan Ashraf too sound apprehensive when asked about his chances of playing in WSH.

"Nothing is sure as of now. We will wait and watch but one thing is certain that we will not defy PHF directives," he said.

An employee of National Bank, Zeeshan also said that he will have to take NOC from his employer and does not want to take any risk as far as job is concerned.

On the other hand, IHF president RK Shetty still sounds optimistic about Pakistani players' participation in the league.

"As of now there is no hurdle in their participation. They are very much a part of this league and we have already received their consent in this regard," he said.

Apart from Rehan and Zeeshan, seasoned campaigner Mudassar Ali, Tariq Aziz, midfielder Adnan Maqsood, half back Waseem Ahmad, Pakistan's most capped player and drag-flicker Syed Imran Warsi and striker Shakeel Abbasi have also signed the contract with WSH.

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