LAHORE - The IOC-backed Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) is still awaiting the reply of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) regarding national team’s participation in the next year’s 20th Commonwealth Games at Glasgow.

“The PHF has not yet responded to our repeated reminders to confirm its team’s participation in the Games and the POA is constrained to make it public that owing to lack of ‘expression of interest’ by the PHF, the Pakistan hockey team may not be able to participate in the Commonwealth Games,” POA spokesman said here on Friday.

He said after receipt of communication from the Commonwealth Games Federation that for team sports it was mandatory that the concerned federation gives an ‘expression of interest’ in writing, the POA had sought the commitment from the PHF in its letter dated July 18, 2013, with the deadline for the reply as July 21, 2013. After the letter was not responded to, the POA sent a reminder to the PHF on July 22, 2013.”

This reminder also stated: “The consent of Pakistan Hockey Federation (expression of interest) by return email as we have to confirm the same to the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games latest by July 23, 2013 failing which Pakistan hockey team may not be considered for participation among the 10 men’s team by the FIH for these Games.”

This reminder too has remained un-responded to. “Owing to the artificially charged environment prevailing in sports in the country, both the original letter and its reminder were also copied to the federal ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and other international bodies,” he added.

“The participation of Pakistan hockey in the event would have afforded it a great opportunity to build its squad for the 2016 Olympic Games by competing against some of the best outfits like Australia, England, New Zealand, Malaysia and South Africa. Actually outside of Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, all the top ranked teams in the world take part in the event. Why the PHF deliberately wanted to stay away from the Commonwealth Games is anyone's guess,” he maintained.

The POA nevertheless is still willing to take up the case with the CGF provided the PHF submits its expression of interest by not later than Monday (July 28, afternoon.

“The National Olympic Committee (NOC) is confident that its request to the Commonwealth Games Federation can still have Pakistan included in the lineup of 10 nations at Glasgow. But this is absolute final deadline as we are not sure whether the CGF will allow any further extensions. In case of failing to respond the onus for non-participation in a frontline event of almost global import will once again lie with the PHF,” he concluded.