LAHORE: Pakistan’s chances to participate in future international hockey events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are hanging in balance.

The four-time world champions’ fate will be decided in a Federation of International Hockey’s (FIH) disciplinary committee meeting set to be held on June 20 in Switzerland, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Asif Bajwa said Tuesday.

In the meeting, the sport’s international body will view PHF’s move to withdraw the national side from the FIH Pro League after committing otherwise.

“President PHF Brig. Sajjad Khokhar will go to Switzerland with our lawyer to plead the federation’s case and hopefully Pakistan will succeed to open the doors for all international activities including Olympics,” Bajwa said.

Three years ago, Khokhar got the Pakistan side entered for the Pro Hockey League. The tournament kicked off in January this year. However, before the start of the tournament, Khokhar, fearing lack of funds, withdrew the national side from the event.

The PHF has been appealing to the federal government to release the funds for the participation but their requests have been turned down from the centre constantly. The federation has also failed to generate funds through private sector sponsorships and therefore landed itself in a situation where it cannot send the national team to participate in international events.

Bajwa also said his first priority was to bring all the former Olympians at one platform for the betterment of the game. He said he would first meet the head of the Olympians Forum Manzoor Junior and later other great Olympians like Samiullah Khan, Islahuddin, Hasan Sardar,

Ayaz Mahmood, Wasim Feroz, Kamran Ashraf, Hanif Khan Qamar Ibrahim and others to convince them to ignore the past grievances and to join hands for the sport’s progress.

With forensic audit of the PHF accounts completed, Bajwa said, all the reservations of the Olympians Forum about the corruption in the PHF would be over soon and it would pave way for all to come forward and unite for hockey.

Bajwa said from onwards daily allowances for players during international competitions will be in Pakistani Rupees instead of in US Dollars like before due toPHF’s financial problems.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2019