November 24 - Pakistan will seek the support of the country's Government before deciding whether to compete in next year's Hockey World Cup in New Delhi, they said today.
Qasim Zia, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President, revealed that it will be the Government that will decide whether the team can be sent to India to compete in the event that is due to start on February 28, 2010.
Sporting relations between Pakistan and India suffered a setback following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last November that left Indo-Pak relations seriously strained.
Pakistan made the cut for the 12-nation World Cup by winning the World Cup qualifiers in Lille earlier this month.
Zia, a former Olympian, who is now an influential politician with the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said that they would hold talks with the Government before announcing their decision.
He said: "We will only participate in the World Cup if the Government gives permission."
Apart from the World Cup, the PHF will also be seeking the Government’s permission to play a Test series against India in a neutral venue ahead of the World Cup.
Zia said: "We are in the process of trying to convince the Indians to play a Test series with us in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah as this would provide ideal practice opportunity and exposure to the team for the World Cup."
Pakistan have won the World Cup on four occasions, but the last time was in 1994.
Zia hopes that if Pakistan do get permission to go to the World Cup they can also play a series of warm-up matches in Europe.
He said: "I would like the team to get maximum international exposure before the World Cup to be held in India in February.
"We are in contact with some of the European federations and hopefully we would be able to organise some international matches before the World Cup with European teams.
"The negotiations are very much under way with some of the Asian and European teams regarding arranging international matches before the World Cup.
"I am hopeful that something would come up shortly."