Pakistan’s hopes of hosting international hockey after more than two decades ended abruptly with the International Hockey Federation withdrawing the hosting rights of Olympic qualifiers from the country.
The surprise decision came on Tuesday and was confirmed by the FIH to Sportstar. “The FIH can confirm that it has informed the Pakistan Hockey Federation of its decision to withdraw the hosting of the Men’s FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier tournament -- scheduled in January 2024 -- from Pakistan. This is primarily due to the recent developments in the governance situation of the Federation,” the statement read, adding that “a new host for this tournament will be announced shortly”.
Pakistan last hosted an FIH event in 2004 and has struggled to get back into the fold since then. Hosting the qualifiers in Pakistan had come under criticism from many quarters and led to speculation on India’s travel there, should the need arise.
With the event withdrawn, however, Pakistan, currently ranked 15th in the world, will have to win the Asian Games or wait for confirmation of a spot in the qualifiers elsewhere. Pakistan failed to qualify for the last two editions.
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