A day after the ‘blanket theft’ accusation following the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta, players involved in the scandal have alleged that the fiasco was created to defame the country’s national team.
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. They are supported by team manager Hasan Sardar had refuted all such claims.
The players were accused of lifting blankets from the hotel room, however, according to the management and players the only things they took the ones intended 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 allow 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 said while talking to the media.
“I cannot imagine we have been blamed for 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 informed.
“There isn’t an issue; it was deliberately created to defame the team. I am really disappointed. How can someone do this? Just generate some news,” he added.
Former captain of the team, Muhammad Irfan Senior, also denied all allegations and said that no one in the team including him needs blankets and the action is below him. “I have been playing for the team for 12 years and have always portrayed a positive image of Pakistan,” he said.
Irfan, currently the most senior player of the team, while saying that he has represented Pakistan in 235 international matches made note of his experience. “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.
Moreover, Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) director domestic and development Naveed Alam on Tuesday had urged the body’s president Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar to ‘find out the real culprits’ behind the national game’s poor performance.
“Though I am a part of the PHF, I am disappointed that the hockey has earned bad name due to a different crisis which came in the last three years but no inquiry was initiated to control the damage by anyone,” Naveed had said.
“And if the PHF president will waste more time then the IPC should come forward to grill the real culprits of all the failures,” Naveed added.