In a major relief for Pakistan, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has let-off vice-captain Ammad Butt with a reprimand for carelessly running into a Malaysian player during their last match, clearing the striker to play the crucial last Pool D match against Netherlands on Sunday.
Besides Butt, assistant coach Danish Kaleem too escaped with a reprimand after the FIH initiated an inquiry against him on Hockey India's complaint for allegedly breaching security protocol and wondering around the stadium without his accreditation card.
Pakistan's campaign at the ongoing men's hockey World Cup went from bad to worse after the team suffered a twin blow Thursday.
While skipper Muhammad Rizwan Senior was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with an injury, his deputy Butt was banned for their last Pool D match against Netherlands because of a serious on-field offence against Malaysia's Faizal Saari.
The suspension was, however, revoked after Pakistan appealed against it with the FIH stating that Butt's offence was not "reckless" but "careless".
While lifting the suspension, the FIH, however, warned that if Butt receives a yellow card in future matches of the tournament, the suspension can be invoked by the Technical Delegate.
"Following an incident at the 40th minute of the game between Malaysia-Pakistan on December 5 Pakistan player Ammad Butt had been suspended for one match by the FIH Technical Delegate. The Pakistan team had appealed against this decision," a statement from the FIH read.
"The FIH Appeal Jury found the appellant, Ammad Butt, breached the Code of Conduct carelessly, but not recklessly, running into the Malaysian players. The Jury accepted the additional evidence that the appellant did subsequently show concern for the Malaysian player's welfare."
The FIH further stated that: "Ammad Butt is reprimanded for carelessly running into an opponent. Should Ammad Butt receive a yellow card in the remainder of the tournament, the FIH Technical Delegate is recommended to suspend him."
The FIH also showed leniency toward Danish after he admitted to the breach of conduct during a hearing on Saturday.
The FIH said that a second violation of any such manner from Danish will lead to his suspension from the remainder of the tournament.
In another good news for Pakistan, the FIH had approved Arslan Qadir as a replacement for injured Rizwan Senior in the 18-member squad for the remainder of the tournament.
"Muhammad Rizwan Sr has withdrawn from the Pakistan squad due to an injury. The team captain will be replaced by Arslan Qadir. Pakistan sought approval from the FIH and the request was assessed and evaluated before being approved," the world body said.
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