Hockey: Olympians get ready for court battle

All aboard to respond to hockey federation’s legal notice, says Sheikh.


Express December 29, 2011

KARACHI: Olympians who fought for Pakistan on the hockey turf are now ready to take on the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) in court following the legal notice served to them by the federation, according to Shahnaz Sheikh.

Earlier this week, 13 Olympians, including former captains Islahuddin Siddiqui, Shahbaz Ahmed and Sheikh, were served legal notices after allegations of human-trafficking were hurled at the PHF in a letter sent to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. They asked for the officials to be sacked but got notices seeking damages worth Rs500 million each from the 13 Olympians.

However, Sheikh, who sent the letter on behalf of the Olympians, confirmed that a reply would be made in two weeks.

“We have started consulting with our legal counsel,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune. “We’re all on board and will reply in the allotted time per advice from our lawyer.”

The initiative, according to the Olympian, was taken in the best interest of Pakistan hockey which has failed to show any improvement despite a huge allocation of funds.

“The letter was a five-page report in which we mainly highlighted recommendations for the Olympics,” he said before adding that PHF’s legal notice mainly focuses on the allegations of human trafficking in an effort to move the onus away from the ‘failure that is the current setup’.

“The notice was a well-planned step by the PHF to distract everyone from the ground reality. They want people to forget our Champions Trophy failure by taking such actions. These officials did the same when we finished bottom at the World Cup by forcing players to resign, while  saving their skin.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2011.

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