The international hockey federation (FIH) has withdrawn the hosting rights of the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifying event from Pakistan that was due to be held in January 2024.
“The International Hockey Federation has withdrawn the hosting of the Olympic qualifier event from Pakistan. FIH communicated this decision to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), citing non-cooperation and interference in the affairs of the PHF as the primary reasons for withdrawal,” PHF tweeted on Tuesday.
The announcement comes in after the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) suspended PHF, ordering fresh elections in August. The PSB then appointed an ad-hoc committee which sacked the entire coaching staff of the men’s team just ahead of the Asian Games. This was done after PHF president Brigadier (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar got elected for a third term in 2022 after holding elections which the PSB refused to recognise and ratify.
“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 FIH told HT.
In July, the FIH had announced that China, Pakistan and Spain had been chosen as the hosts of the hockey Olympic qualifiers. Twelve teams each will compete in both men’s and women’s competitions at Paris 2024. While France have already qualified as hosts, five other teams will qualify as winners of continental competitions – Asian Games in the case for India. The rest of the six spots will be filled via the Olympic qualifiers.
For women, Valencia and Changzhou will host the Olympic qualifiers from January 13 to 21 while Valencia and Lahore were selected for the men’s event. Each tournament will host eight teams with the top three making the cut. But with Tuesday’s decision, it remains to be seen which city will replace Lahore.
“A new host for this tournament will be announced shortly. The other qualifiers will be staged in China and Spain as announced in July,” added FIH.
In other news, Raghu Prasad will be the only Indian umpire officiating at the Paris Games as FIH confirmed the names of technical delegates, officials, umpire managers, umpires and medical officers.