KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have decided not to reduce the duration of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup despite India's pullout at the 11th hour.
But the MHF have redrawn the fixtures for the tournament, which will be held in Ipoh from March 22-30 with the five teams getting two rest days between the matches. With five teams, the tournament can be concluded in seven days. But it will remain a nine-day event.
India withdrew from the meet on Monday after being denied clearance from their government, which is annoyed at Malaysia's recent arrest of 165 Indian nationals.
Yesterday, the MHF decided against calling up another team to replace India.
MHF deputy president Tan Sri P. Alagendra said there was no time for a replacement to be called up.
“We will go ahead with the five teams in the fray. It is just not fair to bring a team at this stage, as they will not be prepared for the challenge. We are sad that India have chosen to pull out at this stage but there is nothing we can do,” he said.
The MHF yesterday also signed up with F& N for 100Plus to be the official sports drink for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. At the press conference after the ceremony, Alagendra said top priority will be given to the teams' security in Ipoh.
“We have discussed the matter in detail with the police and we can say with certainty that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure the teams are well taken care of.
The MHF yesterday released the revised fixtures but MHF secretary S. Satgunam said they would need the FIH to ratify it. He added that should India change their minds, MHF would welcome them and revert to the old fixtures.