Hockey players allege smear campaign attempt to defame them

Published: September 12, 2018
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Former captain of the team, Muhammad Irfan Senior also denied all allegations saying that he cannot even imagine stealing. PHOTO: AFP

Former captain of the team, Muhammad Irfan Senior also denied all allegations saying that he cannot even imagine stealing. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI  : Following a ‘blanket theft’ accusation in the aftermath of the Asian Games, players involved in the scandal have alleged the issue was raised to defame them.

The three players named in the scandal, Muhammad Irfan, Touseeq Arshad and Ali Shan, who were sharing the room at the Games Village in Jakarta, have denied all allegations, including the team management and said that there is no truth in all the news.

The players were accused of pilfering some items from the hotel room, however, according to the management and players the things they took were kept in the room as souvenirs for the players.

“I have toured many countries around the world and participated in many tournaments. In events like these, the host country and the management of the tournaments allows the players to take souvenirs  with them and that is why we took them as a memory as it had the Asian Games logo on it,” Touseeq Arshad told The Express Tribune.

“I cannot imagine we have been blamed of stealing these things. We are not junior players neither are we were touring for the first time. We know how things work at tournaments like these. As soon as we got to know that the Asian Games management has not allowed the players to take these souvenirs, we returned everything,” Touseeq, who has represented Pakistan in 160 international matches, added.

Furthermore, Touseeq said the issue has been raised to malign the team and the players. “There isn’t any issue; it was deliberately created to defame the team. I am really disappointed. How can someone do this? Just generate some news,” he added.

Asian Games: Pakistan hockey players embroiled in ‘blanket theft’ controversy

Former captain of the team, Muhammad Irfan Senior, also denied all allegations saying that he cannot even imagine stealing. “I have been playing for the team for 12 years and have always portrayed a positive image of Pakistan,” he said.

Irfan has represented Pakistan in 235 international matches and is currently the most senior player of the team. “I don’t know why someone has created such a big issue on this. They might not be aware of the policies of the Games. Players are always allowed to take items that are presented as souvenirs with the Games logo present on it,” he said.

The team manager Hasan Sardar also refuted all such claims.

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