New Delhi: Visa issues have delayed the arrival of nine contracted Pakistan players for the much-talked-about inaugural Hockey India League that is just four days away from its start, according to a report published in the Times of India.
The players hadn't arrived until late Wednesday evening and the news daily learnt that problems related to their visa was causing the delay. However, Hockey India haven't come up with any official comment on the issue even as one of the organisers expressed surprise. "The Home Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs had given the clearance on Monday [January 7] and we were expecting then to be here by this evening," he told TOI.
Two Indian soldiers were allegedly killed by the Pakistani armed forces on Tuesday, and when asked if that has put the players' arrival on hold, the official said: "We will get to know about this only tomorrow [Thursday]."
Mohammed Rizwan Jr, Mohammed Rizwaan Sr (Delhi Wave Riders), Sayeed Kashif Shah (Punjab Warriors), Shafqat Rasool, Mohammed Irfan (Ranchi Rhinos), Mahmood Tousiq, Mahmood Rashid, Fareed Ahmed and Imran Butt (Mumbai Magicians) were expected to join their respective teams between January 7 and 9.
"We have furnished all the documents required by the Indian Embassy and our respective franchisees as well. I don't know how and why the procedure got delayed," Imran Butt, brother of Rehan Butt and goalkeeper of the Mumbai Magicians, told TOI from Pakistan.
A source close to the Delhi Waveriders informed TOI that assurances have been given by Hockey India about the issue to be resolved by Thursday. "We can't be sure about anything because of the current controversy over the killing of Indian soldiers. Hockey India has assured us that the visa issues would be resolved by tomorrow and players should be here by Friday," he said.