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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Champions Trophy - Hockey, marred by Pakistan's obscene behaviour

When players go overboard, they say, it is not Cricket – what would you say this …..

The 2014 Men's Hockey Champions Trophy, 35th edition of the Hockey Champions Trophy for men is on at Bhubaneswar.  In a surprise result, Germany downed five-time champion Australia in the  semifinal.  Earlier, the Saturday blockbuster involving India and Pakistan had disappointment in store for the passionate home fans as India lost 4-3 an evenly-contested, high voltage semifinal clash of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament at the Kalinga Stadium.  Incidentally, India had also lost to the same opponent in the last four of the 2012 edition in Melbourne. The defeat also meant that the third place finish in 1982 remains India's best ever performance in the Champions Trophy.

World No. 11 Pakistan, which reached the final after 16 years on the strength of Muhammad Arslan Qadir's brace, will take on Olympic champion and nine-time winner Germany on Sunday. The world No. 3 edged past five-time defending champion Australia 3-2. It was also a big achievement for Germany, which had struggled throughout the year and came into this event with a team which had several players from the 2013 Junior World Cup-winning squad, as it made the final after 2009.

The behaviour of Pak players after the victory, on Indian soil is condemnable to say the least.  Taking strong exception to FIH’s “weak” censure to Pakistani players for their obscene behaviour after beating India in the Champions Trophy semifinal, Hockey India on Sunday decided that it would not host any event sanctioned by the world body until strong punishment is handed out to the offenders. The Pakistani players made obscene gestures towards Indian fans and media after their win last night but no action was taken against them by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) after their coach Shahnaz Sheikh offered an apology.

“It was a shameless and condemnable incident but the FIH took a very weak and feeble decision. It is not acceptable to us. We have made it clear to FIH that such sort of behaviour from sportspersons is not acceptable to Indians,” HI president Narinder Batra toldPTI from New Delhi. Soon after their 4-3 win, Pakistani players went into frenzy and started celebrating their victory in a wild fashion. They removed their shirts, used foul language and made obscene gestures towards the crowd and media, prompting their coach Shahnaz to come into action and take away his players.  Tournament Director Wiert Doyer, who was asked to carry out an inquiry into the matter, then spoke to the Pakistani camp and said FIH has accepted their apology. But Batra said a mere apology is not enough.

Now comes the news that 2 Pakistani field hockey players were suspended and one was reprimanded for making obscene gestures. Muhammad Tousiq and reserve goalkeeper Ali Amjad were handed a one-match ban that sidelined them from the final.  Shahnaz, a former international, also walked out of the post-match press conference in a huff after Indian reporters persisted in asking questions about his players' behaviour after the game.

Mr  Batra said "The tournaments may be shifted to countries which tolerate this kind of nonsense and uncouth behaviour." India are due to host the 2018 World Cup. Tousiq, the FIH statement said, was clearly seen "raising the middle finger to spectators on the stands" that breached the Level 1 of FIH's Code of Conduct and invited a one-match suspension. Tousiq accepted the breach.

Definitely not maintaining the decorum of  International sports !!
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

14th Dec 2014.


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