Champions Hockey Trophy not to be held in Lahore; FIH

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New Delhi, Sep 13 (UNI) It is now official-- the Champions hockey trophy will not be held in Lahore.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has decided to move the Champions Trophy Tournament from Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Lahore from December 1 to 9.

A new venue for has not been decided as yet. A decision will be taken in the next few days and in principle, the FIH will try to keep the same dates for the Tournament.

India and Malaysia have shown intrest in hosting this prestigious event though both the countries have not qualified for it. Top six team of the last year's World Cup form the field for Champions trophy.

After five teams pulled out of the tournament it was curtains for the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) as it became certain that FIH was left with no alternative but to shift the trophy to some other venue.

''Two of the qualified teams (Australia and Spain) informed the FIH that they would not be able to participate and Germany, Korea and Netherlands were unable to confirm their entry. Furthermore, the FIH Athletes Commission was advised by a number of players that they would not play in the Tournament.'' So despite PHF's desperate last minute efforts to have the tournament played it failed as the reserve countries England and Japan also declined the invitation. With six of the best eight hockey teams not participating in the Champions Trophy, one of the most important hockey tournaments in the world, the FIH had no option but to move the event.

The decision was based on the concern about the safety and security of the participating teams and the negative travel advice received from the foreign affairs departments of many of the prospective participants.

According to FIH President Els van Breda Vriesman. ''It was an extremely hard decision and one that we took with many regrets for the Pakistan Hockey Community.'' ''During the last few months we tried everything we could to keep the Champions Trophy in Pakistan. This was unfortunately impossible due to circumstances not related to hockey or sport and completely beyond the control of the FIH and the PHF,'' she added.

UNI

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