At a time when India are debating whether all sporting ties with traditional rivals Pakistan should be cut off or not, Sports Minister Vijay Goel has left it up to the sports federations to take a call.
While theBoard of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has clearly stated that India will not play Pakistan at least in a bilateral series, the Indian hockey team is gearing up to face off against the arch-rivals in a multi-nation tournament “for the sake of country’s soldiers.” (Pakistan sponsor of terrorism, no question of playing cricket with them: Anurag Thakur)
Pakistan were also not invited to take part in the ongoing Kabaddi World Cup in India while Hockey India continues to snub Pakistan in events like the Hockey India League.
India cricketer Gautam Gambhir has batted for snapping all ties between the nations when in an interview to India Today, he said there should no “no cricket, no Bollywood with Pakistan”. However, at the same time India’s direct qualification into the Women’s World Cup in England next year is under serious threat if they refuse to play Pakistan in a bilateral series. (Why I disagree with Gambhir’s views on snapping sporting ties with Pakistan)
Situations like these definitely put BCCI or the federations and the government on a sticky wicket but Goel is of the view that India “should play” every team in a multi-team events. (Also Read: Pakistan refuse to tour India for any bilateral series)
“In tournaments where we have qualified, I believe we should play against every team that we come across. In bilateral series or events, whether to play against Pakistan or not, we can think about it,” Goel told India Today. (India-Pakistan women series in doubt, India’s World Cup qualification under threat)
Admitting to the fact that autonomous bodies run sports in the country, Goel said the Sports Ministry has always kept its doors open for federations to take its advise on such tricky issues.
“In India, federations decide about sports and the participation of their teams. But for example, if we have qualified for the final, it will be difficult to not give up on participation,” Goel added.
“Let federations decide if they want their teams to participate or not to. If they seek ministry’s opinion we will definitely give but as we know in India federations are autonomous bodies,” Goel concluded.