Pakistani players in rebel league row

2012-04-20 14:49

Pakistan hockey authorities today ordered seven players to explain their appearance in a rebel league in India, casting doubt over their participation in the London Olympic Games in three months’ time.

Seven Pakistani players, including former captains Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt, featured in the March-April World Hockey League, which was not approved by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) said the players have been summoned before a disciplinary committee on May 7.

“Seven Pakistani players featured in the World Hockey Series, which was played in India. The FIH declared the event as unsanctioned. So these players have violated the constitution of PHF and FIH,” a PHF release said.

Besides Butt and Abbasi, Waseem Ahmed, Zeeshan Ashraf, Tariq Aziz, Imran Warsi and Adnan Maqsood featured in the league.

Pakistan’s dwindling fortunes in field hockey would suffer another serious blow if the players were banned.

Pakistan, four times world and three times Olympic gold medal winners, have slumped in recent years, recording a worst-ever eighth position at the 2008 Beijing (China) Olympic Games.

They finished 12th and last in the 2010 World Cup held in New Delhi, India, but surprisingly won the Asian Games in China the same year to make an automatic berth in this year’s Olympics.

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