LAHORE - The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has planned a bilateral hockey series against India to bridge the gap between two nations through sports and also urged the government for Rs 650 million grant to promote the national game across the country.
Speaking at meet the press gathering here at the Lahore Press Club on Monday, PHF president Akhtar Rasool said: “The federation has chalked out a plan to conduct 10 national tournaments to promote hockey at the grassroots level and also decided to revive hockey at school, college and university level.”
“We are expanding the horizon of consultation and for the purpose, a selection committee of senior former Olympians to have their say in the selection of the teams,” the PHF chief said and added: “I have no issue with any former hockey legend rather I have invited all of them to come forward to play their important role in developing and promoting the game to the highest level.”
He said that he had met with minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada and had discussed in detail the team’s forthcoming international assignments and the national tournaments the PHF had lined up.
As of the accounts of the PHF under former officials, he said that Auditor General Pakistan had already done the audit of the PHF accounts. “We should move forward instead of mingling around in the past,” he stated.
The PHF president said that no department could progress without support of the government especially sports, which need its special attention. He added academies should be there to groom players but now the federation was introducing a system of check and balance. “We will take into account results of the academies and take action against those which do not work properly,” he added.
Akhtar Rasool said that Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is also patron of the PHF, had been asked to have Rs 500 million in the country’s budget so that no president of the federation had to rely on other sources for support.
He said that talks with the government were underway for the team’s participation in international events like the Asian Games and hoped that issues would be resolved soon after the talks with the IPC and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) officials.
To a query regarding series with India, Rasool said: “A letter has been sent to the Indian federation and we are hoping for a positive result. The Indian team will visit Pakistan first and then we will make a trip across the border.”