ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior has said that conducting the Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) is essential to revive the national game.

Addressing the press conference at Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium, Karachi, Shahbaz Senior said: “The players of Argentina, Spain, Netherlands and other top hockey playing nations will be in action in the Pakistan Hockey League starting from March 23. I will be leaving for Switzerland to attend the FIH Governing Board meeting to be held on March 15 and I will also take up Pakistan’s case of two-year ban on taking part in pro-league try to ensure the ban should be lifted.”

He said Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) elections were held as per PHF constitution. “We are ready to talk to all stakeholders and our doors are always open for those, who are angry or upset with the federation without any solid reason. The Pakistan Hockey League will start in Lahore and it will take around Rs 100 million expenditures to conduct the first-ever league in Pakistan.

“We need to shun our meager differences if we want to take Pakistan and hockey forward. It is very important to fill the hockey stadiums and it is only possible through regular matches and Pakistan Hockey League will be a milestone in helping the youngsters towards attracting youth towards playing hockey,” he added.   The PHF secretary said that the government had also promised to provide funds for holding the PHL. “As far as the federation’s audit is concerned, we are ready to provide every single detail of expenditures, what we’ll get from the government and produce through our own resources.

“The world XI visit to Pakistan gave a very positive signal to international community. After world XI tour, the international players very positively presented the true image of the country across the globe that Pakistan is completely safe for holding all kinds of international hockey events.

“The Senate Standing Committee on IPC has shown trust in the PHF, while the IPC Secretary has accepted that the resignations won’t help the national cause and directed us to continue with the good work. He also assured of government’s all-out support to the federation. Had former IPC Secretary Jameel Ahmed not ignored our requests of sending the national team to professional hockey league, the situation would have been completely different, but his irresponsible attitude cost hockey and PHF dearly,” he added.

Shahbaz said that the PHF congress meeting will be held on February 26, in which all the major decisions will be taken and we will seek vote of confidence from the congress as well. About taking back his resignation, he said: “Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar had refused to accept my resignation and asked me to continue for the sake of hockey. It is our responsibility to ensure hockey back on its feet.

“It hurts badly that we are running from post to pillar to arrange funds and a few negative-minded people and hockey family start unleashing hell on us. I request them to give us positive suggestions to help Pakistan hockey start flourish again. They must criticise our policies and should wait for audit report and if found guilty of a single penny’s corruption or any wrongdoing, we will immediately quit,” he added.

“The PHF is not a personal property of anybody. Today Shahbaz Senior is secretary, tomorrow someone else will be performing this role. We must discuss positivity. I never thought about discrimination as all the players and officials are same for me. I once again request to all former Olympians to come and bring suggestions as hockey is our common interest and we must shun differences to take Pakistan hockey back to old glory days’ heights,” Shahbaz concluded.