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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has imposed a ban on Tiger Club, an affiliated club of the Islamabad Hockey Association (IHA), after its alleged involvement in human trafficking.

“We’ve imposed ban on Tiger Club and now it will not be able to participate or hold any event till the probe is completed,” PHF president retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar told a news conference here on Thursday.

The Tiger Club recently hosted an indoor tournament at Islamabad’s Pakistan Sports Complex, with the help of some individuals who were allegedly involved in human trafficking.

A few days ago, Khokhar said, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) forwarded a copy to the PHF, which contained complaints regarding alleged involvement of some individuals related to Tiger Club in human trafficking. “We’ve also issued a warning letter to IHA and directed it to investigate the matter and submit a report to us at the earliest,” he said.

To a question, he admitted that the PHF had allowed Tiger Club to hold indoor event in Islamabad stating that the federation had just given the permission but it was not involved in holding of the event.

“We’ve received the request for this event through our affiliated unit (IHA). Indoor hockey in Pakistan is relatively a new concept. I was invited at the concluding ceremony of that event and I distributed prizes among the players. But till that time I did not know anything which have surfaced now,” he maintained.

“The PHF will back all positive sports activities but now we’ve decided that each and every tournament in the country, no matter at which level it is being played, will now only be held under the aegis of the PHF.”

The PHF president said the federation was focusing to regularise hockey at the school and club levels as it believed this was the only best way to revive the national game in the country. “For that we’ll soon start laying down small astro turfs in various areas of the country so that youngsters may be given better facilities and attracted towards hockey.”

He said hockey academies would be set up in various parts of the country, particularly in the areas which have been producing talented players.

Khokhar said the funds provided by the government to the PHF were being spent carefully. “We’ll not indulge in lavish spending. We are spending this amount on training camps and team tours. This money is a trust, it belongs to hockey and players and will only be spent on them,” he maintained.

To another query, he said Pakistan’s first professional domestic league would be launched in October-November, involving foreign players.

“Work on the professional league is in progress and soon it will be given final touches. We [in this regard] are in touch with foreign players, including Europeans,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2016