Nov 16, 2014

Pakistan Hockey Players Continue To Suffer

There seems to be no end to financial problems faced by Pakistan hockey as new reports have emerged that the players and the coaching staff not being paid their dues from past one year. Its not just that but the lack of funds have forced Pakistan hockey team to cancel their tour to South Korea in order to participate in next month's FIH Champions Trophy to be held in Bhubneshwar.
Pakistan players have not been paid for a year
Cash starved Pakistan Hockey Federation is trying to lure sponsors for the national side but they haven't be able to do so because of poor performance on the pitch. After missing out on hockey World Cup and Commonwealth Games in 2014, Pakistan Hockey had to cancel the trip to South Korea due to VISA and financial issues.

Pakistan captain Muhammad Imran raised a question about the players suffering saying for how long the players will struggle financially while representating the country. “Many players have sacrificed their international league contracts to play for Pakistan,” he told reporters  after opening day’s trials for the FIH Champions Trophy and South Korea tour. He said he quit the league contract halfway in Hong Kong to come to appear in the national trials and lead the team in next month’s Champions Trophy in India. “I may be losing Rs.1.5 million for leaving three contracts for the sake of the country,” he added. “We are waiting our payments of the central contracts for the past one year. We have families and need money to support them,” the double Olympian full-back said. “If situation doesn’t improve we may stop playing for the country and the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will be looking for us,” he lamented. Like Imran, Umar Bhutta and some senior and junior players also returned from overseas to appear in the Champions Trophy trials

After winning silver medal in Asian Games 2014, the Punjab Government had offered the team Rs. 2 million but the cheque issued to the players also bounced when the players went to the bank to encash it.

Pakistan Hockey Federation asked for Rs 500 million from Pakistan government but they are yet to receive any response from the Pakistan sports ministry even after 2 months of asking them the same. PHF secretary general Rana Mujahid Ali said the PHF was anxiously looking towards government funding to raise the funds for the upcoming Champions Trophy. “Besides other affairs, we have to pay players’ long standing dues and award them cash incentives if we want our national sport to keep going,” he added. Mujahid said the PHF badly needed funding for the national senior and junior teams and domestic circuit. He said a request for a grant of Rs.500 million was submitted to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and other sports authorities for the release of funds. He said the Pakistan team badly needed international exposure to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

Former Olympians have now taken charge of the situation and are working towards a solution to resolve the issue and generate some funds for the players so the team can participate in next months Champions Trophy

It is quite evident that the future of hockey depends on Asia more importantly, India and its arch rivals Pakistan. After a long fight with dictatorship at the top, Indian hockey is finally getting back on track with victories on and off the pitch. Its time Pakistan joins India in cleaning its house and giving the players, the team management and Pakistan hockey its due, or else the country which came with World Cup and Champions Trophy will struggle to put forward a team for the future tournaments. 

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