FAISALABAD: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has decided to file a protest against the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) decision to eliminate the Champions Trophy, their brainchild, from its calendar, revealed PHF President Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar.
During the recently concluded Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia, FIH President Leandro Negre talked about some drastic changes in the structure of global competitions, with the Global Hockey League to be introduced in 2019 in place of the Champions Trophy. This means the 2018 edition of the Champions Trophy in Amsterdam will be the last one.
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“The PHF pitched the Champions Trophy to the FIH in 1979,” said Khokar. “It is a tournament where the world’s top six hockey teams come together annually to face off against each other.”
Khokar expressed disappointment that the FIH took the step without any warning or consultation with the PHF. “Such decisions dissuade hockey governing bodies from taking constructive initiatives for the growth and development of hockey,” he said. “The PHF wants to express its concern and is therefore protesting to the FIH.”
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‘Pakistan can organise Champions Trophy’
The captain of the Greenshirts who won the first-ever Champions Trophy, held at home in Lahore in 1978, has said Pakistan can organise the tournament if the FIH is unwilling to do so.
“It is very sad that the decades-old event is being discarded at a time when interest in hockey is dwindling across the globe,” said former skipper Islahuddin. “If they cannot organise it then they should let Pakistan do so. We will not let it die.”
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The 68-year-old expressed his disappointment at FIH’s actions. “Instead of popularising the Champions Trophy and recognising our efforts for the promotion of hockey, the FIH is scrapping this prestigious event.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2016.
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