Security concerns in Pak may shift elite event to India
With the situation in Pakistan not getting any better, India might get to host the elite six-nation Champions Trophy later this year, reports Uthra Ganesan.india Updated: Aug 10, 2007 04:59 IST
With the situation in Pakistan not getting any better, India might just get to host the elite six-nation Champions Trophy later this year.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) met in Beijing on Wednesday and, though there was no official confirmation, sources admitted the shifting of Champions Trophy was one of the issues on the agenda. And, apparently, the reluctance of various teams to travel to Pakistan and the political situation there has forced FIH to look for alternate venues.
"Though we have not received any official confirmation yet, things will be clear within a week. But, going by the current situation, the FIH is most likely to shift the Champions Trophy away from Pakistan," sources in the IHF said on Thursday. "We will get official confirmation within a week," they added.
While Olympic champions Australia have already pulled out of the meet citing security concerns, former champions Spain and European powerhouses the Netherlands have also expressed reservations in travelling to Pakistan for the event, with the players hesitant to play amidst growing violence in the country. Pakistan is supposed to host the event at Lahore from December 1 to 9.
Asked what would be India's chances given that Malaysia have also proposed to host the tournament, an IHF official said India definitely had the upper edge. Even sources in he Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) admitted that, if the tournament was shifted, it was most likely to come to India. "The FIH is not too happy with the Malaysian Hockey Federation, and India would be the best bet as an alternative," sources said.
When contacted, FIH officials refused to comment on the issue. "We will have some official information to release tomorrow. But we can't say anything today," was all FIH communication manager Arjen Meijer was willing to say. If the tournament is shifted, India will get to play the elite tournament at Gurgaon, after missing out last year.