Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has rejected claims from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) that it had not submitted travel documents for its players by the official deadline, which FIH said resulted in its exclusion from the Junior World Cup.
India did not issue Pakistan's junior hockey players the visas that they needed to be able to participate in the tournament, a press release issued by the PHF said.
"This version of the FIH is completely baseless as the PHF had submitted visa application forms along with relevant documents pertaining to visa formalities well in time on Oct 24. The No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the government of Pakistan had also been obtained on time but still India did not issue visas to the Pakistani contingent," it added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement on Thursday, confirming that India had not granted the hockey team's visa applications.
Speaking to DawnNews earlier, PHF Secretary Shehbaz Ahmed termed the move "pre-planned" and said "Pakistan did not delay any obligations pertaining to schedules and it is India's fault which did not issue visas to the Pakistani delegation before the given deadline."
Pakistan on Nov 19 had issued NOCs to the Pakistan's junior hockey team in order for them to take part in the Junior World Hockey Cup scheduled to be held in India from Dec 8 to 18.
The Malaysian junior men’s has replaced Pakistan as per the decision of FIH issued Monday.
"Ironically," the PHF press release added, "India is ready to provide visas to the Malaysian team, who have replaced Pakistan, in three-days' time."
Calling FIH's decision an "unjust act", the PHF said that despite having limited resources, it had spent around Rs100 million to prepare the junior squad.