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Canada skip Bangladesh event over security fears

AFP | Dhaka |

Canada's field hockey players have become the latest international team to refuse to travel to Bangladesh over security fears by pulling out of an eight-nation tournament being held in Dhaka next month.

A senior official said on Wednesday that Bangladesh's national association had been told of the decision by hockey's world governing body in what is the latest blow for the country's sports fans after several other similar pullouts.

"The FIH (International Hockey Federation) has informed us that Canada will not participate in this tournament due to security concerns," the Bangladesh Hockey Federation's general secretary Abdus Sadeque said.

"It's a blow for us because they were the highest ranked team in the tournament."

Canada, who are 11th in the world, had been drawn along with Bangladesh, Oman and Fiji in one of two groups for the World League Round 2 event. China, Egypt, Ghana and Sri Lanka are in the second group.

Sadeque said Bangladeshi authorities had drawn up a comprehensive security plan for all the teams in the tournament which runs from March 4-12 but it had not been enough to allay Canadian concerns.

Canada is the second country to pull out of a hockey tournament in Bangladesh since militants killed 22 people in an attack on a cafe in Dhaka last July. Most of the victims were foreigners.

Japan withdrew their team from the Under-18 Asia Cup in August on security ground as seven of their citizens were among the victims of the cafe attack.

Australia's cricket team also pulled out of a scheduled tour to Bangladesh in late 2015 over security fears.

England's cricket team did tour Bangladesh in October last year after the authorities accorded them security normally reserved for visiting heads of state.