Hockey Australia awaiting India-related terror advice from government

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Melbourne, Feb.17 (ANI): The Australian hockey team's coach, Ric Charlesworth, is awaiting advice on the Indian security situation before confirming whether the team will leave for the subcontinent this weekend, the Herald Sun reports.

Hockey Australia CEO Mark Anderson was quoted as saying its plans to attend the tournament remained unchanged while it awaited the outcome of security assessments of the report on the Asia Times Online website.

He expected to have that information before the team was due to fly out on Sunday and emphasised the team's safety was of "paramount importance".

Coach Rick Charlesworth has said that while the threat was to be taken seriously, security could also be concentrated in safe areas in New Delhi for the hockey players.

Al Qaeda-linked Pakistani militant Ilyas Kashmiri reportedly issued threats warning athletes against competing in India at the hockey World Cup, which starts on February 28, cricket's Indian Premier League starting next month and the Commonwealth Games in October.

"Hockey Australia is aware of the terrorist threats reported in the Asia Times Online towards the 2010 men's World Cup and is currently awaiting the assessment regarding the legitimacy of the threat," said Anderson in a statement.

"Until we receive further advice our plans will remain unchanged.

"The security of our team and staff is of the utmost importance. As such we are placing a high priority on security plans for this important international event. Hockey Australia has been in contact with a range of security experts and officials for several months both in Australia and India," he added.

"We have a process in place for assessing emerging threats and changing conditions. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is currently assessing the reported threat and we will continue to maintain close communication regarding this, and all other security issues," Anderson said.

Hockey New Zealand (HNZ) chief executive Hillary Poole said the New Zealand team would attend the World Cup starting on February 28 but HNZ was taking the threat seriously.

"We are monitoring the security situation very closely and have been for some time," Poole said.

"We are also seeking detailed advice from the FIH (International Hockey Federation) who are responsible for hosting the hockey World Cup in Delhi. At this stage we are comfortable though we are monitoring the situation very closely."

The New Zealand Olympic Committee, which also has responsibility for the Commonwealth Games, said Wednesday it was aware of the new threat and was closely monitoring the security situation within India. (ANI)

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