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India & Pak play the blame game

New Delhi: The relations between India and Pakistan’s hockey federations soured, on Wednesday, following the cancellation of the three-nation tournament in Lahore for which the neighbours blamed each other.

While Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Asif Bajwa said, in Lahore, that the tournament fell through because of India’s decision to pull out at the last moment, Hockey India (HI) retaliated saying it was surprised to know the meet was scrapped.

HI, in fact, stated that the team could not go to Pakistan because of security reasons.

“The ministry of external affairs has sent a communication dated April 3, conveying that in view of the security situation prevailing in Pakistan, the visit of the Indian hockey team would not be advisable unless backed by credible high-level assurances of security from Pakistan side,” HI said in a statement.

HI said it was extremely serious about participating in the Lahore meet and announced a developmental side after the steering committee of the sports ministry approved the tour.

The Indian federation claimed that PHF assured that fresh dates for the tournament would be announced if no clearance came from the ministry of external affairs.

“It was decided that if no clearance came before the departure of the team to Lahore, then fresh dates from April 14 to 21 would be considered for the tournament,” HI said.