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Pakistan to be Part of 2018 World Cup in India, Confirms International Hockey Federation

Hockey's governing body indicated Thursday that Pakistan will take part in the men's World Cup this year in India despite acute tensions between the two countries.

News18 Sports

Updated:February 16, 2018, 11:25 AM IST
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Pakistan to be Part of 2018 World Cup in India, Confirms International Hockey Federation
Indian players in action against Pakistan. (Hockey India/Twitter)
Hockey's governing body indicated Thursday that Pakistan will take part in the men's World Cup this year in India despite acute tensions between the two countries.

Pakistan have qualified for the World Cup to be held in the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar between November 18 and December 16. But fears have been raised that Pakistan could skip the 16-team event as sporting ties between the neighbours are frozen.

“Pakistan will be invited because it’s an FIH-sanctioned event. We have taken the necessary permissions from the external affairs ministry. There are certain rules and procedures in which participating nations have to apply for visas 60 days prior to the start of the tournament. There are other procedures which Pakistan will have to follow,” FIH chief Narinder Batra told the Times of India.

Reports also suggest that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has requested the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to process the visas of their players and officials on time so to avoid any last-minute glitch.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) told AFP however that no participating nation has indicated problems that could lead to a withdrawal, or India refusing to let any nation attend.

"We are looking forward to welcoming all 16 qualified teams. We have not received concerns from any of the participating teams nor the host about this matter," an FIH official told AFP in an email statement.

"FIH strongly believes that hockey is an inclusive sport, aimed at celebrating diversity and promoting friendship and respect."

India's blind cricket team did not go to Pakistan in January for the 50-over World Cup, forcing their matches to be switched to United Arab Emirates.

India and Pakistan's senior cricket teams have not played a bilateral series since 2013 because of the tense political climate. India accuses its neighbour of supporting militant activities, particularly in the disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistan's kabaddi, squash and wrestling teams also did not travel to India for marquee tournaments last year.

Pakistan, who did not qualify for the 2014 World Cup, are the most successful team in the sport's showpiece event with title wins in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994.


(With Inputs from AFP)

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| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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