LAHORE - Former hockey Olympians M Khalid and Danish Kaleem have urged the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to intervene into the matter of Govt College Gojra ground closure for hockey activities.

"It is quite unfortunate that a historic hockey ground which produced a number of former Olympians has been closed for hockey activities and national players have been forced to practice on the road after denial to use the facility,” they said here on Thursday.

Quoting a recent incident, they said goalkeeper of the Pakistan team Imran Shah was stopped from practicing at the ground by the college administration at the behest of some ex-Olympians who were also involved in undue criticism of the PHF. "Imran has lodged his complaint with the PHF on the issue and if members of the Pakistan team are not allowed to practice on the ground then who will use it?”

They said Gojra Hockey Club was practicing on the same grassy ground for the last 25 years and because of regular activities, a number of ex-Olympians were produced who brought laurels to the country. "Now a group of former Olympians have joined hands to take control of the ground and to stop hockey activities just for their vested interests, setting aside the national interest as a large number of young players in league with the members of the national team practice there which is a way to promote hockey,” they added.

They said they had approached the PHF in this regard and took up the matter with its secretary Rana Mujahid to stop these anti-hockey tactics.

When contacted, Imran Shah confirmed the closure of the ground and the incident of practicing on the road along with other players. "We have been restricted to use the facility without any justification. I have reported entire episode to the PHF.”

PHF secretary Rana Mujahid said that they were looking into the matter and were hopeful of coming up with an amicable solution that would safeguard the rights of hockey players practicing at the Gojra college ground. "I am ready to talk to those ex-Olympians who are behind this move to play my due role and to secure the future of the game,” Mujahid added.