Bhubaneshwar, Dec 14: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Sunday suspended two Pakistani players from playing in the Champions Trophy final after they were found guilty of making obscene gestures following their semifinal win against India.
The FIH in its press release stated that a third Pakistani player got away with official reprimand.
According to reports, all the three players, Amjad Ali, Mohammad Tousiq and Shafaqt Rasool, have accepted their guilt. Amjad and Tousiq were guilty of making obscene gestures with their middle fingers towards a packed gallery, an action that has been photographed and is now documented.
Sources said that Hockey India’s imminent threat of boycotting all FIH events scheduled to be held in India during the next few calender years made the world hockey’s governing body reverse their earlier decision of just letting the players with official reprimand.
The FIH statement said: “After the conclusion of the semifinal match between India and Pakistan, Amjad Ali was seen making obscene body gestures that are considered to be obscene, the evidence of which surfaced after the initial statement was issued on 14 December at midnight.”
The statement further said: “Amjad Ali accepts the breach of the code of conduct. The attitude of the team member at the hearing was good, with Pakistan tendering a written apology to the community of hockey. The seriousness of the offence falls within Level 1 of FIH rules and regulations and according to the Code of Conduct of Level 1 offence one match suspension is imposed on Ali Amjad. He is suspended for the next match that Pakistan will play in the relevant tournament.”
The FIH further said that Tousiq committed the same offence and has been handed out the same punishment as Ali, adding “Tousiq was seen making gestures that are considered to be obscene (raising the middle finger to spectators on the stands) whose evidence surfaced after the initial statement was issued on 14 December at midnight.”
Even Tousiq accepted that he breached the code of conduct, the FIH said, adding: “Muhammad Tousiq accepts the breach of the code of conduct. According to the Code of Conduct Level-1, Muhammad Tousiq is suspended for the next match that Pakistan will play in the relevant tournament.”
It may be noted that Rasool got away with just a reprimand for committing the same offence as Tousiq, but what against the latter were the two yellow cards which he received so far in the tournament.
The punishments reportedly came after Hockey India on Sunday took a strong objection to FIH’s “feeble” action towards Pakistani players indecent behaviour and decided not to host any FIH events in India until and unless the world body hands out a strong punishment to the offenders of this shameless incident.
Initially, no action was taken by the FIH after Pakistani coach Shahnaz Sheikh offered an apology.
HI president Narinder Batra told a news agency: “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.”
He further added: “So we have decided not to host any FIH tournaments in India after the Women’s World League Round 3 scheduled in March, which includes the 2018 Men’s World Cup, if they don’t take any strong action against Pakistan.”
India and Pakistan were scheduled to resume their bilateral hockey series at a neutral venue in Dhaka soon, but Batra said India will not play any bilateral series with Pakistan after this incident.
“We have decided not to play any bilateral or trilateral series against Pakistan until and unless the Pakistan Hockey Federation gives an unconditional apology for this incident in writing,” he said.
Soon after their 4-3 win over India, Pakistani players went into a frenzy mode 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 Sheikh 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 Pakistani camp and said later the FIH is satisfied with their apology and so “no action was unwarranted”.
(With Agency Inputs)