FIH is pondering over the idea to have India and Pakistan play their ties in Europe if they are drawn against each other in the Olympic qualifiers. Earlier, the PHF had managed to convince the FIH to grant them entry in the qualifiers after paying the 15,000$ first instalment of the fine.
According to sources in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), the Indo-Pak Olympic qualifiers hockey matches are reported to be played in Europe if they have to meet each other as the FIH plans to announce draws for the qualifying tournament soon. Having been seeded in two separate halves of the draw, India and Pakistan could battle for a berth in Tokyo.
“In the qualifiers in September-October, the top tier teams will have to play against the lower tier teams, and Pakistan and India which has already won one qualifying tournament could be drawn up against each other,” the source told PTI.
“It is not necessary we might draw up India but if that happens then the FIH will probably schedule the matches in Europe as conditions are not conducive to play the matches in India or Pakistan,” the source said.
The PHF managed to convince the FIH to grant them entry in the qualifiers after paying the 15,000$ first instalment of the fine imposed on the federation for not participating in the Pro Hockey League earlier this year. The source added that Pakistan has already begun preparations to compete in the qualifiers, as an appearance in the Summer Olympics would be a big boost for the declining game in the country. Pakistan, currently ranked 17th in the world, had missed out on the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Besides Pakistan, Egypt, South Korea, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, India, and some other teams are expected to feature in the qualifying tournament for the seven berths at stake.