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Six more Indian hockey players pull out of WSH

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Last Updated: December 01, 2011, 16:30 IST

Six more Indian hockey players pull out of WSH

Hockey India and IHF have warned that players participating in the WSH will be banned from international events.

New Delhi: In what has come as another serious blow to the World Series Hockey (WSH), six additional Indian players have confirmed their unavailability for the inaugural edition of the eight-city event.

A day after six other Indian hockey players pulled out of the event, drag-flick specialists Rupinder Pal Singh and Manpreet Singh, midfielder Manjeet Kullu and forwards Danish Mujtaba, Kangujam Chinglensana Singh, and Birendra Lakra have written a letter to Hockey India secretary-general, Narendra Batra, saying they would be available for the Olympic qualifiers.

In a signed letter dated November 29, the six players conveyed their decision not to play in the WSH, which is slated for a December 17 start, saying that they would attend the national camp for the Olympic qualifiers from December 11.

The letter reads: "We are writing to you to advise that we are not playing in the World Series Hockey event and that we will be attending the National Camp in Delhi for the Olympic Qualifiers on the 11th of December 2011 until February 2012 and we will be available for selection in the national team for the Olympic Qualifiers."

"We signed the contract with World Series Hockey under the impression that WSH will not force us to only play in WSH and ask us to leave the National Camp. We appeal to World Series Hockey to postpone the tournament to after the qualifiers in the national interest. We will play for our country and it is a matter of honour and pride for us."

The WSH organisers, however, said they have not received any communication from the players in question.

"As of now, we have received no withdrawal. All those who have signed up will play. We have not heard anything from the these players," chief operating officer of Nimbus Sport, Yannick Colaco said.

Colaco also accused Batra of using pressure tactics on the Indian players to stop them from taking part in the event.

"HI and Mr Batra have been employing all methods to stop players from playing in WSH. In fact, a player told me that Batra is threatening them to withdraw from WSH or else they can't play for India," he alleged.

"It's unfortunate to see how some people are trying their level best to create an air of uncertainty about the event."

In a release issued later, Colaco said that Nimbus Sport suspected that the supposed letter was a "fabrication or an extortion."

"We have heard about a supposed letter that has been purportedly signed by a few players of the Indian team. We find it extremely odd that players would have chosen to 'write' to a third party to withdraw from World Series Hockey, especially since this third party has nothing to do with this historic event. We thus are unable to judge whether this supposed letter is a fabrication or an extortion," Colaco said.

The WSH has been a contentious issue ever since it was announced last year. Hockey India and International Hockey Federation have warned that players participating in the lucrative league will be banned from international events. The league is scheduled to begin from December 17.