FIH boss Narinder Batra says sorry to Pakistan Hockey Federation
India’s black armband protest during the Hockey World League semifinal match against Pakistan and the FIH president Narinder Batra’s social media comments sparked a lot of controversy.Updated: Jun 23, 2017, 14:39 IST
International hockey federation president Narinder Batra has apologised to Pakistan for India’s black armband protest during the Hockey World League semifinal match against their traditional rivals on June 18.
Indian players wore black armbands to show their respect to soldiers killed fighting terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir. This sensitive show of “political message” directed at Pakistan caught FIH and tournament organisers England completely by surprise.
What made matters worse was Batra taking to social media to vent his angst against Pakistan, a country that has been repeatedly blamed by the government of India for sponsoring terrorism.
In a letter to the Pakistan Hockey Federation president on Thursday, Batra said: “I would like to offer my sincere regrets to PHF and all concerned for using my social media page to make inappropriate comments.”
The FIH was not amused at Batra’s outburst. On Wednesday, it forced the former Hockey India chief to delete sensitive tweets that threatened to bring relationship between Indian and Pakistan players and officials to a boil.
PHF secretary general Shahbaz Ahmed told HT that Batra forgot his role as FIH chief and it was unbecoming of a man who should be keeping politics aside from hockey.
“My comments were made on the spur of the moment and were an emotional outburst,” wrote Batra. He goes onto clarify that FIH had nothing to with this.
“This will be a lesson for me as I understand I have hurt the feelings of many people as well as placed the FIH in a difficult position...I can reassure PHF that such thing will not happen in the future,” said Batra, who was elected international hockey federation boss in November 2016.
Just like cricket, India and Pakistan do not have bilateral sporting relations apart from multi-nation international events. India will host the 2018 World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Pakistan still retain a mathematical chance to qualify.