The cash-strapped Pakistan Hockey Federation has turned down Hockey India’s offer for financial aid after it evoked strong reactions from a cabinet minister and former players.
“We cannot accept this offer from Hockey India despite their polite gesture as this is purely an internal matter of the Pakistan Hockey Federation,” PHF President Akhtar Rasool told a news agency.
Soon after a senior official of Hockey India said last Saturday that it was concerned with news reports about Pakistan being unable to send its team for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Holland due to financial crisis and that HI was willing to lend a helping hand, the Pakistan hockey community reacted strongly.
“It is all drama by the PHF to get more funds. It is a shameful situation for us that India is offering us financial assistance for our hockey,” former Olympian and captain Samiullah said.
Similar sort of reactions came from other former players and federal minister for information Pervez Rasheed said India’s offer showed the incompetence of PHF.
“The government has released around USD 12 million to the PHF as special funds in the last few years so it is not as if the government is not supporting hockey but the PHF needs to get its house in order and tell us where this money was spent because we have been told more than the players it was spent on other things,” Rasheed told reporters.
PHF secretary Rana Mujahid, who confirmed getting a note from HI offering financial assistance, had announced last week that it was postponing a national training camp set up in Rawalpindi to prepare for the Olympic qualifying tournament as it could not pay the daily allowances of the players and coaches.
Pakistan has also failed to send its team to Malaysia for the Azlan Shah tournament due to lack of funds. Scheduled training tours of Australia and Korea as part of preparations for Olympic qualifiers late next month are also in doubt.
“We have asked the government to include any official of their audit department on our executive committee so that he can have a look at all our accounts and where we spend money.
“We have got audited accounts for the last few years,” Mujahid said.
He said they were still hopeful that the government would bail them out of the financial crisis. A source in the PHF said that after the strong rebuttal from the federal minister the PHF was now planning to resume its training camp in Lahore from Friday.