New Delhi: The simmering tension on the Indo-Pak border Tuesday spilled over to the sporting arena with a rattled Hockey India deciding to send back all the nine Pakistani players taking part in its high-profile league, following protests over the killing of Indian soldiers.
After protests by Shiv Sena and other organisations disrupted the training and the first match of the league, Hockey India took the decision to send back the Pakistan players considering the "extra-ordinary circumstances".
"After discussion with all the stakeholders, the Hockey India and the Pakistan Hockey Federation have mutually decided to send them (Pakistan players) back due to an extra-ordinary situation which has arisen," Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra said.
"We kept all stakeholders ' the franchises, PHF and HI ' in the loop during these discussions. We took all on board before making this decision. All have approved this decision. The contract money for 2013 will be paid in full to the Pakistani players and HI stands committed in guaranteeing the same.
"We and the PHF have mutually decided to release the players so that they do not feel the mental stress and their performance is not affected," Batra added. Batra said that the franchises, who have to release the Pakistani players, are free to seek their replacements.
"We will give the right to franchises which own Pakistani players that they can ask for replacements. They can select from the reserve pool within their allocated budget," Batra said.
HI had initially decided to send back the Pakistani players of Mumbai Magicians franchise only, but fearing that the league could be affected by disruptions, it took the decision to send back all the players.
The nine players who would be sent back are Mahmood Rashid, Fareed Ahmed, Muhammad Tousiq, Imran Butt (Mumbai Magicians), Mohammed Rizwan Sr. and Mohammed Rizwan Jr. (Delhi Waveriders), Kashif Shah (Jaypee Punjab Warriors) and Muhammed Irfan and Shafqat Rasool (Ranchi Rhinos). ( agencies)