FIH has stated that in case India draws Pakistan in the upcoming Olympic qualifiers, it will not be considering shifting the match to Europe to tackle the rising political tensions between the both of them. The two have been placed in separate pots and India will be playing its qualifiers at home.
India and Pakistan will be battling for their respective spots in next year’s Tokyo Olympics and based on their world rankings, the two have been placed on different sides of the draw. Hence, there is a possibility that the two might have to play each other to secure their berth in the sporting extravaganza.
Last week, a Pakistan Hockey Federation official had stated that should such a scenario arise, the world governing body of the sport FIH will have the two teams clash in Europe keeping in mind the political aversion between the two. However, the body has clearly rejected the idea, as it stated in an email to the PTI.
“There is no truth in this. This is wrong,” the FIH was reported stated by Hindustan Times.
14 teams will be taking part in the qualifying process and seven pairs would be formed based on the live draws to be conducted at the federation’s headquarters in Lausanne. Each pair will then play a two-legged tie involving back to back matches at the home of the higher ranked country among the two. The winner on aggregate will travel to Tokyo next year to take part in the sporting extravaganza.
As per the current rankings, India is placed in a comfortable eighth spot whereas Pakistan lies in 17th and had also missed out on qualification four years ago in Rio.