Malaysia will be competing at the Uttar Pradesh Junior Hockey World Cup after all as it has been confirmed they would be replacing Pakistan in the tournament.
The Speedy Tigers did not qualify for the tournament on merit, but Pakistan’s inability to sort out visas and other necessary arrangement – largely due to their ongoing feud with India – forced the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to cancel their participation and hand the slot to Malaysia.
Here’s the full statement from FIH:
“Earlier today the International Hockey Federation (FIH) invited the Malaysian junior men’s team to take part in the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men, Lucknow 2016, being held in India from 8 to 18 December. The late invitation came after FIH had to officially withdraw Pakistan’s invitation to the event.
FIH regrets that Pakistan’s men’s junior team will not be able to take part in this year’s Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup even though they had officially qualified. FIH’s decision follows considerable discussions with the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and requests for confirmation that they had the necessary arrangements in place to be able to participate in the event
Visas had been applied for after the official deadline and no accommodation was confirmed within the set deadlines. Despite a number of correspondence and reminders, the PHF was not able to show that their team would be able to travel to Lucknow for the event which begins in only a few days’ time.
FIH has substantial contractual obligations to its partners to deliver a full number of matches at the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men, Lucknow 2016. With the event starting in only a few days’ time, today was the last possibility for FIH to ensure the quality of the event, with a full complement of 16 teams playing in Lucknow.”
With less than two weeks left before the tournament gets underway, it remains to be seen if Malaysia can round up a squad and prepare them in time to provide a strong challenge in Lucknow.
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