No hockey league, debt clearance despite windfall

Rs200 million  grant is not enough for PHF to execute plans, fulfil obligations, claims secretary


Nabil Tahir November 18, 2016
PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) yesterday received the Rs200 million grant promised to them by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif two months ago, but despite the massive cash injection, the federation has no plans of returning the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) loan or organising Pakistan Hockey League (PHL).

Instead, the PHF intends to use the grant money to clear players’ dues and finance their tours abroad.

The grant was announced by Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada on the PM’s behalf after the PHF successfully organised the Pakistan-Oman Hockey series on home soil in September.

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“We have received a Rs200 million cheque that was announced two months ago. It took some time but we are glad and appreciate the interest the PM is taking in the national sport,” PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior told The Express Tribune. “We have lots of plans which were put on hold because of financial issues but now work will finally begin.”

Shahbaz further revealed the PHF has chalked out a plan to make the best use of the funds. “I am going to meet some officials in Islamabad for the execution of our plans to lift hockey,” he said. “We have to pay pending daily allowances of approximately Rs30-40 million to current players and around Rs18 million to former ones.”

The World Cup winner further said that sending the 27-member junior team to the World Cup would cost Rs300,000 per day, bringing the cost of the entire trip to between Rs20-30 million.

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Shahbaz vowed they will pay back the Rs10 million they owe the PCB, eventually. “We have to pay them back but not from this grant as this is for the development of hockey. We will pay them back in instalments later.”

Shahbaz said a hockey league — like the Pakistan Super League organised by the PCB — cannot be held yet as the grant money received is not enough.

“PHL requires around Rs25 million to organise such a spectacle and that money can’t be taken out from the grant. We will instead try and finance the league through sponsors as soon as the government gives us permission to invite foreign players,” he said, adding that all the homework for the league is done and that it can be held within days of obtaining the government’s NOC.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2016.

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