India and Pakistan share one of the fiercest rivalries in world hockey and the international federation does not want to miss out on the chance to cash in on a high-voltage contest during next year’s senior men’s World Cup to be held.
Of late, diplomatic tensions have taken a toll on sporting rivalries between the two neighbouring nations and last year’s Junior Hockey World Cup in Lucknow was a witness to that after Pakistan could not participate in the event following visa issues.
But the International Hockey Federation (FIH) does not want a repeat of the Lucknow episode and is working closely with the hockey bodies and governments of both the countries to ensure Pakistan’s participation in the next year’s World Cup to be in India from November 28 to December 16.
“Absolutely (we are in talks with Pakistan),” said FIH CEO Jason McCracken when asked whether the game’s governing body is in touch with Pakistan regarding their participation in the World Cup.
“Pakistan have qualified and we are super happy and delighted for them. It is a fantastic rivalry between India and Pakistan. We have to make sure that Pakistan get their visas on time.
“They have to do all the correct things with their government and also the India government. The FIH will do its best to ensure Pakistan participates in the World Cup. Pakistan is vital and we look forward to see them here next year,” he added.
Diplomatic tensions and frequent border skirmishes between the two countries have already taken a toll on bilateral sporting ties with India and Pakistan only competing in international tournaments.
The last time a Pakistani hockey side had travelled to India was in December 2014, when they took part in the Champions Trophy.