Picture Credit: Twitter

Picture Credit: Twitter

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has withdrawn the hosting rights of the Olympic Qualifiers from Pakistan which are slated to be held in January 2024. This decision comes amidst conflicts between the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and the state-owned Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).

Pakistan, China and Spain were the three initially announced host countries for the 2024 Paris Olympic Qualifiers. The qualifiers would have been the first major hockey event to be held in Pakistan since the 2004 Champions Trophy. The top three teams at the qualifiers will join France and the winners of the Continental Championships.

The decision was confirmed by the FIH to Sportstar in a statement that said, “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,” also adding that “a new host for this tournament will be announced shortly”.

“The International Hockey Federation has withdrawn the hosting of the Olympic qualifier event from Pakistan. FIH communicated this decision to the Pakistan Hockey Federation, citing non-cooperation and interference in the affairs of the PHF as the primary reasons for withdrawal,” the Pakistan Hockey Federation said in their statement. 

The PHF had picked Lahore as the venue to host the event but recent efforts by the PSB to interfere in affairs of the PHF and bring in the officials of its choice into the federation have led to chaos. Several former Olympians with the backing of the government’s ministry of inter provincial coordination and PSB have been trying to stage a coup in the PHF. Meanwhile, the teams who will participate at the Olympics qualifiers will have to wait for further information.