UAE sore as Gill says no go |
July 4, 2001
|Planet Field Hockey
The Times of India
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DUBAI: The UAE hockey committee has expressed disappointment over India turning down the invitation to play a hockey series against Pakistan in Dubai early next year.
"Preparations for hosting the series were in full swing and it is disappointing news for the hockey fans here. We were enthusiastic about staging the event after we got confirmation from both Pakistan and India. Both asked us to arrange the facilities and get the astroturf ready and we had taken permission from the rulers office for the ground," said Raza Abidi, coordinator of the committe.
"However, we are still hopeful India will reconsider the matter especially after the talks between Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf and Indian prime minister A B Vajpayee," he said.
He said he would try to convince the Indian hockey officials to play here and that he had not yet lost hope.
India has rejected a proposal for a hockey series against Pakistan to be played in Dubai early next year.
"If we can play against each other in either country, why should we go to a neutral venue?", asked Indian Hockey Federation president K P S Gill on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Abdul Rehman Bukhatir, chairman of the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series (CBFS) denied it was their idea to host a hockey series in the UAE. "The UAE hockey commmittee was planning to stage the event and we were only assiting them. We were willing to promote any sport be it hockey or football in whateverway possible but with regard to the hockey series we never mooted the idea".
He denied CBFS had signed any agreement with SM Leisure Sports Management Private Limited regarding the staging of the India-Pakistan hockey series in Dubai.
Abidi said the UAE hockey committee was going ahead with a proposal to host an international event to promote the game here. He said the committee had approached six nations, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Pakistan, Germany and Australia for the event and were in talks with hockey officials in England.
He said if India does not play Pakistan, separate tournamets where India plays three countries and Pakistan also plays three may be organised though he was hopeful India and Pakistan may agree to play against each other by then.
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