ISLAMABAD - Hockey India president Narinder Batra has ruled out Pakistani players participation in future editions of Hockey India League (HIL), saying they will not be considered until they apologize for their ‘unacceptable behaviour’ during last year’s Champions Trophy.

Still awaiting an apology from Pakistan over its players’ behaviour in the Champions Trophy, Batra, who is also the chairman of HIL, Monday said he would love to have players from the neighbouring country in the franchise-based league but not with the kind of conduct they displayed in Bhubaneswar last year.

“I would love to have Pakistan players but not with the kind of behaviour they displayed in the Champions Trophy,” Batra said and added: “And they have shown no regret of that incident in writing or otherwise. I don’t want to politicise the issue but that kind of behaviour was unacceptable. Least we need is an apology from them.”

Batra is boastful of the HIL having a positive impact on Indian hockey. “Our aim at HIL is to form a pool of players for the future. We already have eight players from HIL in the national side. HIL has created heroes and a space for itself in the big world of cricket.

“We have won the Asian Games gold after 16 years and were able to get the better of Pakistan in an Asian Games final after 48 years since 1966. So the national sport has certainly improved in the last four or five years and HIL is one of the reasons behind it,” said the HI president.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has lashed out at the HIL officials for not including Pakistani players in its fourth edition saying their politics is destroying the spirit of sports in the subcontinent.

Shahnaz said he couldn’t understand what was bothering the Indian sports bodies for not considering Pakistan in their cricket, hockey or other leagues. “It is time they (Indian Sports Bodies) end their immature attitude and tell Pakistan what they really want as their attitude is affecting the spirit of sports in the subcontinent,” he said.

Shahnaz said during the World Hockey League at Belgium, he met with the Indian hockey officials and they were very optimistic to include the Pakistani players in their league but still they dumped the Pakistani players which was disappointing.

He said all players from Asia were called in for the leagues but not Pakistan which was against the spirit of sports. “India has always given us a cold shoulder,” he said adding this reaction of India is in response of their defeat against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy last year,” he said.

The former Olympian and head coach said look at the cricket affairs, India promised to play Pakistan in the UAE this December but they backed out. “Pakistan should now stop thinking about India and must move forward,” he said adding India is not the whole world there are many other better teams waiting to play against Pakistan.

Speaking about the internal hockey affairs, he said the Inter Provincial Coordination Ministry (IPC) and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) should grant the deserved prize money to the players for performances in Champions Trophy and Asian Games.

Shahnaz said according to the Sports policy the team prize money amounts to Rupees one million per player. “IPC and PSB assured us for cash rewards and I hope we get them soon,” he said.