DUBAI // The Pakistan volleyball fraternity was in disarray on Saturday following the exclusion of their national team from the Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship at the request of a parallel national federation.
Pakistan were drawn in Group H alongside Libya and Indonesia for the 24-team championships that started, and the team was scheduled to arrive Thursday.
But just as they got ready to leave, officials discovered a rival association had written a letter to the organisers requesting the team not be allowed to participate.
The Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) and the players have been left shocked by the development.
Chuadhary Mohammed Yaqoob, president of the PVF, has threatened to take the rival body to court for “sabotaging” the country’s participation in the championships.
“The members of national team as well as the Pakistan Volleyball Federation would sue this illegal parallel body for damages in the court of law,” Yaqoob said in a news statement.
“The Asian Volleyball Federation had invited Pakistan in the championship in which 24 countries are participating.
“As the visa process was on, a parallel body of volleyball, headed by Zafar Abbas Lak, informed the Asian body that Pakistan has pulled out its team from the event.
“Though we reminded the Asian federation that no such decision has been taken by the genuine body of the PVF, they expressed their inability to allow Pakistan team to participate in the event because it could not change the schedule of matches within such a short time.
“Upon query, it was learnt that a fake and illegal body of the PVF wrote to the UAE Volleyball Association that the Pakistan team has been withdrawn from this championship.
“A lot of damage has been caused to Pakistan team, its players, and to the national prestige due to the mischief of elements, who have no interest in the promotion of the game in the country.”
Pakistan’s withdrawal forced the organisers to rejig the groups and Indian fans, who had turned up early at the Al Nasr Club to watch their national team take on Uzbekistan in a Group G game, returned home disappointed as the schedule had to be changed because of the new developments.
India will now play Qatar, the only other team in Group G, at the Hamdan Sports Complex, with the game scheduled to start at noon Sunday.
Uzbekistan have been moved to the two-team Group A and they met hosts UAE on Saturday night.
Pakistan are the third team to withdraw from the tournament; Jordan and Indonesia had decided to pull out earlier.
Pakistan were to open their campaign at noon against Libya at the Hamdan Sports Complex yesterday.
With the two noon matches at both venues cancelled, the championships eventually got underway two hours later with Oman taking on Sri Lanka in Group E match at Al Nasr.
Taking the first set 25-21, the Sri Lankans cruised through the next two 25-15, 25-19.