With players from both India and Pakistan supporting more games between the two sides, Hockey India (HI) on Wednesday indicated it could look into bilateral matches in the near future.
Pakistan coach Rehan Butt has repeatedly said the two sides should play more to improve the level of Asian hockey and India captain Harmanpreet Singh on Tuesday supported the idea.
HI secretary general Bhola Nath Singh supported the idea.
“There will be more India-Pakistan matches. It won’t happen immediately after today’s game, of course, but it will, at both senior and junior levels. We just need to stay patient,” he declared.
He also reiterated HI’s stance that the team will travel to Pakistan if needed for the Olympics qualifiers.
“The government has made it very clear that there won’t be any problem in major multi-nation events. The Pakistan team has come here, their cricket team will also come later. I don’t see any problem in that,” he added.
FIH president Tayyab Ikram, meanwhile, stressed that talks around a window for the Hockey India League (HIL) were on and it was a priority for him.
“The most important aspect of HIL is to provide a professional environment for the athletes, which matches very well with my agenda. It will be done on a priority basis once we get a clear window request. We have only had informal discussions so far, but it will be done without any delay,” he said, with Bhola Nath adding the initial planning was already done and official discussions would begin soon.
Both also said that an international women’s event, to be held in Ranchi, would be announced soon.
Tayyab also mentioned the FIH’s new Empowerment and Engagement Programme to attract youngsters to the sport and encourage national associations to actively pursue development of hockey.
At least 15-25 new pitches by 2024, a high-performance input of 300 days to different nations, a new competition for second and third-tier nations, around 200-plus days of grassroots coaching with FIH experts and free distribution of hockey equipment were some of the features he listed.
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