IPOH: The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) has said they are making ‘constructive efforts’ to bring India and Pakistan back to the negotiating table. “We are trying to make some constructive efforts to bring them together and eliminate their disputes,” AHF CEO Tayyab Ikram said on Tuesday.
It’s been over a year since the two sides last faced each other in a non-mandatory event (FIH, AHF) and Ikram says he has been working to try and resolve the conflict. “Yes, finding a solution has been on my daily agenda,” he says. “We are trying to get a different menu for them.”
While Ikram did not explicitly say what would feature in this ‘menu’, a solution will have to be developed sooner rather than later because of the FIH’s upcoming home-away series. “I think you are referring to Narinder Batra’s quote with respect to whether Oman could play as a neutral host,” Ikram said on the prospect of a neutral venue for home-away series. “I don’t know whether that will be fine with India and Pakistan but in informal discussions, Batra did raise the point.”
The AHF also disclosed that plans could be made to make both of the teams play a bilateral series during the home-away format. “Whichever venue Pakistan chooses as its host, maybe we could try and have a few more games in the same place.”
While the two teams are scheduled to face each other at the upcoming World League Semifinal in London, the two sides not playing in bilateral or invitations translates to bad business. “Our viewership from Kuantan (where they played the Asian Champions Trophy) is still far better. Getting both of them on the same page is essential for our commercial purposes. And to promote hockey.”