`India, Pak hockey teams ugly spat will not affect relations`
Lahore: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has made it clear that the recent on-field spat between Pakistani and Indian players/officials in Australia would not affect the relations between the two hockey bodies.
PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said the recent on-field scuffle between the players and officials of Indian and Pakistan teams was one of the most disappointing moments in the game`s history but insisted that relations between the two federations would remained cordial and positive.
"I don`t think this ugly incident will have any adverse affect on the bilateral ties," Bajwa said.
"The tournament director of the four-nation comp etition took the right decision after thoroughly reviewing the video footage of the incident and we are satisfied and have no intentions to take this issue up with the FIH," he added.
The incident saw the hockey pitch at Busselton turn into a battle field as the Pakistani and Indian players got into an ugly scuffle. Some Indian players were also accused of hurting two Pakistani players -- Shafqat Rasool and Muhammad Imran -- with their hockey sticks.
And that later led to the tournament director banning Indian hockey team manager, assistant manager and three players including the skipper for matches from one to five, while Pakistan captain Shakeel Abbasi was also barred for one match.
The Indian authorities, however, blamed the Pakistani players for instigating them and have plans to appeal against the bans.
Meanwhile, Pakistan won the four-nation tournament after upsetting Australia in the final 4-3 and Bajwa said that the victory is a moral booster for the side and it would surely help the team prepared for the future events.
The former Olympian also said that the tour was a part of the strategy to gear up for the upcoming Champions Trophy and the London Olympics 2012.
"Next year`s Olympics is our major target and the Australia trip was part of the preparation strategy for the mega event. It provided the players with valuable experience," said Bajwa.
Pakistan is keen to play a bilateral test series with India early next year before the London Olympics and are waiting for the dispute over the representative hockey body of India to be resolved to finalise matches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other gulf centres.
The PHF has also managed a breakthrough of sorts by convincing the Chinese hockey team to tour Pakistan for a test series in December, which is a welcome news as foreign teams visiting Pakistan have been reduced dramatically after the militants attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009 in Lahore.