FIH bans two Pakistani players for misconduct

Published December 14, 2014
Pakistan captain Mohammad Imran (L) celebrates with teammates after winning the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 semi final match against India in Bhubaneswar. — AFP
Pakistan captain Mohammad Imran (L) celebrates with teammates after winning the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 semi final match against India in Bhubaneswar. — AFP

BHUBANESWAR: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Sunday put a ban on two Pakistani players for one match each, in the aftermath of Pakistan’s victory over India in the Champions Trophy Semi-Final.

The FIH U-turn on Sunday came a few hours after Hockey India chief Narinder Batra demanded an unconditional apology from Pakistan and called for strict action by the governing body.

According to DawnNews, the hockey federation has put a one match ban each on Amjad Hussain and Tauseeq Ahmed for misconduct, while Shafqat Rasool has been let off with a warning. This means the player will not be able to take part in the Champions Trophy final against Germany.

Midfielder Tauseeq has played regularly in previous matches while Amjad is the reserve goalkeeper.

Earlier the FIH had said that no action was needed against the misconduct of Pakistani players during their celebrations after winning a nail-biting Champions Trophy semi-final against India on Saturday.

After comprehensively winning the game 4-3, Pakistani players removed their shirts, started dancing in jubilation, and raised obscene gestures towards the crowd.

The initial FIH statement, as reported by Indian media, came as Pakistan coach Shahnaz Sheikh tendered an apology for wild celebrations by the players following their win which knocked out host India from the tournament.

“Shahnaz Sheikh has apologised and assured me that such behaviour will not occur again,” said a press statement by Wiert Doyer, tournament director of the Champions Trophy.

Matters seemed to have been resolved after Sheikh’s apology, even though the FIH had hinted of possible action against the Pakistani team.

“I tender my apology for what happened after the game,” Sheikh had said before boycotting the post-match conference for what he termed the unprofessional coverage of the match end by Indian media.

 Pakistan Hockey team coach's statement issued to Indian Media
Pakistan Hockey team coach's statement issued to Indian Media

Indian media focused match coverage entirely on Pakistani players raising unruly gestures after defeating their arch-rivals. The Pakistani players were allegedly reacting to cat-calls by the Indian spectators who had come to watch the crucial game in large numbers.

Indian coach Roelant Oltmans termed the Pakistani celebrations “a bit too much”, disapproving of their behaviour. Their captain, Sardar Singh, had said that the reaction gave a wrong message to the people of the game, adding that such things should have been avoided in front of a packed stadium.

The FIH did call in Pakistani players Shafqat Rasool, Amjad Hussain and Tauseeq Ahmed for an inquiry.

‘No action against Pakistan’ angers Indian hockey chief

Earlier in the day, Hockey India chief Narendra Batra was furious over FIH’s decision to not take any action against the misconduct of Pakistani players.

“We have decided we will not host any bilateral series with Pakistan until we get an unconditional apology from the Pakistani federation for the behaviour of their athletes,” Batra said.

“I wanted to congratulate Pakistan on their victory yesterday, but the post-match celebrations are totally unacceptable,” the Indian hockey chief said while talking to Indian media. “We lodged a formal protest with the tournament director and I am really disappointed with his decision.”

Batra claimed there was no provocation from the Indian crowd or media which could have prompted Pakistani players to resort to unruly gestures.

"[Pakistan players] were seen showing middle fingers and this goes against all norms of decency,” he said.

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