ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Thursday said that AstroTurfs in various hockey grounds of the country were outdated and needed to be replaced.

Speaking during a question hour session at the floor of the House, the federal minister said that currently there were 25 hockey stadiums and all were outdated, adding that athletic field and synthetic track at the Jinnah Sports Complex Islamabad were also in dilapidated condition.

The federal minister was speaking while responding to a supplementary question asked by MNA Naeema Kishwar Khan of the JUI-F.

She had asked the minister that there are reports that through a single contractor, substandard AstroTrufs were laid down at hockey stadiums in Abbottabad, Peshawar and Bannu.

Answering the question, the minister said that in the light of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, sport was now a provincial subject. However, he said that all the AstroTurfs were outdated.

“We don’t have funds to replace them,” Pirzada maintained, adding: “a PC-1 had been submitted and whenever we get funds, the outdated AstroTurfs would be replaced.”

Earlier, responding to a question asked by PPP’s Musarat Rafique Mahesar, the federal minister in his written answers told the House that currently there were 21 cricket and 25 hockey stadiums in the country.

Also, the minister while responding to yet another question asked by MNA Sajida Begum told the House that hockey players were not paid any remuneration for any match.

He, however, said that hockey players were paid daily allowances during any tournaments as per the constitution of the Pakistan Hockey Federation.

He said that during camps for tournaments in Pakistan, each player gets Rs 1000 per day, whereas each player is given Rs1000 per day for any tournament in the country, adding that each player gets Rs 15000 per day in any international event.

Talking about football, the federal minister said that at present no match fee was paid to the national football team by the government.

In the past, the Pakistan Football Federation used to pay US$100 per match to each player in any international match, he further said.

On the other hand, a former hockey player while speaking to Dawn differed with the minister, stating that the AstroTrufs at the Islahuddin Hockey Academy, Karachi, Army Ground Rawalpindi, Custom Ground, Karachi, Hockey Stadium, Bhawalpur, Hockey Stadium, Karachi, Mirpurkhas Hockey Stadium and Lahore Hockey Stadium were relatively far better.

However, he said that there were some hockey grounds wherein any AstroTurf was never laid down.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2016