NEW DELHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has declared that the country’s players will not be a part of $2 million World Hockey Series (WHS) due to be held in India from next month.
The PHF has made it clear that any player who participates in the WHS will be banned from domestic competitions. This declaration hinders the plans of several Pakistan hockey stars, including former captain Rehan Butt, who wanted to participate in the event after being overlooked for the Champions Trophy.
PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa has said that no Pakistani player will be allowed to play in the WHS. “There’s no question of Pakistani players taking part in the WHS,” he said. “The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has written a letter to us which clearly states that this league is unsanctioned. Pakistan team members won’t take part in it, and those who aren’t in the team will also follow suit.”
Nine players from Pakistan have signed contracts with the WHS, with Butt having been named captain of one of the eight franchises.
“It’s now difficult for us to be a part of the league,” admitted Butt. “I’ve sent a copy of the FIH letter to the event’s organisers. I’m waiting for their reply.
“It’s mentioned in our contract that we can opt out of the league if our job is in jeopardy. If we play the league now, then not only will we face a ban from hockey, but we might lose our jobs too.”
Another former captain Zeeshan Ashraf, also overlooked for the Champions Trophy, believed his chances of playing in the WHS remained bleak. “We’ll wait and watch, but we won’t defy PHF directives,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2011.
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