NEW DELHI — In a fine gesture, Hockey India (HI) on Saturday offered financial help to their Pakistan counterpart after the national hockey federation of the neighbouring country suspended a training camp because it could not pay its players and coaches daily allowances.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) was forced to suspend the camp at Rawalpindi till April 10 because of paucity of funds. Pakistan need to appear in the Olympic qualifying tournament in the Netherlands in June if they want to make it to 2016 Rio Games.
In a letter to Pakistan Hockey Federation Secretary General Rana Mujahid, Hockey India Secretary General Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said HI was "willing to bail out the PHF" so that their players can take part in the Olympic qualifying tournament. "I have gone through press news coverage ... in case you are unable to raise resources for the training of the team for the World League Round 3 to be played in Belgium, which is also an Olympic Qualification tournament for the Pakistan team, we are still willing to approach Government of India or our sponsors and well wishers to bail out the PHF and our neighbour out of this difficult situation, so that we have a healthy competition amongst us in Rio 2016," Mushtaque Ahmad said in the letter.
India had suspended bilateral hockey series with Pakistan after the controversial semifinal clash at Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar last year which saw "vulgar and obscene" celebrations by the Pakistani players after they beat the home side 4-3. Despite that incident, Mushtaque Ahmad said that India cannot "imagine" an Olympic hockey competition without Pakistan.
"We cannot imagine the Olympics being played and the Indian and Pakistani teams not being a part of the hockey discipline. Even though the issue during the FIH Champions Trophy 2014 is yet to be resolved, we are willing to bail you out. We await your feedback," he said.