The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is in danger of getting suspended by the sport’s world governing body (FIH) as it struggles to fulfil a commitment to send its men’s national team for the FIH Nations Cup, a qualifying tournament for the Pro League.
On Saturday, many leading former captains and Olympians including Islahuddin Siddiqui, Samiullah, Asif Bajwa, Rana Mujahid, Rasheed ul Hasan, Manzoor junior, Hasan Sardar among others appealed to the government to release funds to the PHF so that it could send its team to Potchefstroom in South Africa.
The FIH Nations Cup is scheduled to start from November 28 and the PHF has made it clear that if Pakistan is unable to send its team for whatever reason, it faces a possible ban and a heavy financial penalty from the world body.
In 2019 the FIH had fined the PHF 170,000 euros for not sending its team for the inaugural Pro Hockey League held in Argentina.
The cash-strapped PHF only managed to pay the fine in installments.
A senior official in the PHF said that Pakistan had recently taken part in the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia after the federation managed to raise funds through donations and some sponsorships as the government didn’t release any money.
“We are in a very bad situation as now we don’t have the funds to send the team to South Africa and if we can’t do that the FIH can not only suspend us but will also impose a heavy fine,” he said.
Another source said that Pakistan’s foreign coach, Dutchman Siegfried Aikman was also not happy with the situation.
“He is upset as these financial issues are hampering the development and progress of the team which managed to win bronze medal in the Azlan Shah Cup.
The government and its sports wing, the Pakistan Sports Board have refused to release funds to the PHF as they have appointed a fact finding committee to hold fresh elections.
The government also didn’t recognise the recent elections of PHF in which Brigadier (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar was elected again after nearly 10 years in power.