New Delhi: The simmering tension on the Indo-Pak border on Tuesday spilled over to the sporting arena with a rattled Hockey India deciding to send back all the nine Pakistani players taking part in its high-profile league following protests over the killing of Indian soldiers.
     
After protests by Shiv Sena and other right-wing organisations disrupted the training and the first match of the league, Hockey India took the decision to send back the Pakistani players considering the "extra-ordinary circumstances".
     
"After discussion with all the stakeholders, the Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation have mutually decided to send them (Pakistan players) back due to an extra-ordinary situation which has arisen," Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra told reporters here.
     
"We kept all stakeholders the franchises, PHF and HI in the loop during these discussions. We took all on board before making this decision. All have approved this decision.

The contract money for 2013 will be paid in full to the Pakistani players and HI stands committed in guaranteeing the same.
     
"We and PHF have mutually decided to release the players so that they do not feel the mental stress and their performance is not affected," Batra added.
     
Batra said that the franchises, who had to release the Pakistani players, were free to seek their replacements.
     
"We will give the right to franchises which own Pakistani players that they can ask for replacements. They can select from the reserve pool within their allocated budget," Batra said.
    
 HI had initially decided to send back the Pakistani players of Mumbai Magicians franchise only but fearing that the league could be affected by disruptions, it took the decision to send back all the players.

(Agencies)

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