LAHORE – The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) General Council decided that the federation would take legal action against former Olympians who were making allegations of corruption and misuse of power against the PHF officials.

In a general council meeting of the PHF, the council decided that while it had no issues with former Olympians criticising the PHF or its working but it would no longer tolerate allegations of corruption and misuse of power.

"Former Olympians are free to criticise the federation or performance of team but we can't have any of them making serious and unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against PHF officials," PHF president Qasim Zia said.

Former Olympians Naved Alam and Mansoor Ahmed had recently alleged that some of the PHF officials including secretary Asif Bajwa were involved in human trafficking and misused the funds of the federation. Qasim said the council had decided that legal action would be initiated against such players so that either they present proof or pay damages.

The PHF also threatened to impose five-year bans on players, who opt to play in the unsanctioned tournaments such as much-hyped World Series Hockey (WSH), planned in India.

"The council has unanimously agreed that all those players who defy the PHF and go and play in any tournament that is not sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation will be immediately banned for five years and would not be able to play in Pakistan," Qasim added.

A number of leading Pakistani players have signed up for different teams in the lucrative WSH which has been deferred to February 2012 by the organisers who are offering handsome payments to players.

Forward Rehan Butt, former Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf, half-backs Waseem Ahmed and Shakeel Abbasi, goalkeeper Salman Akbar and some other players are said to have signed deals with the WHS franchises.

The council also reviewed the performance of the senior and junior teams for the year 2011 and also discussed preparations for the London Olympics 2012.

The council also approved a budget of Rs 40.8 million for the upcoming year while the PHF also constituted disciplinary, finance and competitions committees for handling all the federations’ matters in a buffeting manner, PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said.

The PHF also announced four more academies to groom young and skilled players. “The PHF has announced four more hockey academies in Kashmir, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad. These academies will help in hunting young talent from those areas which will boost as well as promote the game,” Bajwa added.

The PHF also decided to give Air Marshal Nur Khan award along with Rs 100,000 to the senior player of the year while Brig Atif award along with Rs 50,000 to the junior player of the year.

“These awards were named to pay tribute to Air Marshal Nur Khan and Brig Atif who have great contributions in the promotion and development of the game while these incentives for the players will boost their morale and encourage them to perform exceptionally well and earn these awards,” Bajwa concluded. "There was also lot of debate on performance of Dutch coach Van Den especially his reluctance to remain in Pakistan for any long period of time," a reliable source said. The Dutch coach has come in for criticism after Pakistan finished seventh in the eight-team Champions Trophy in New Zealand and he also skipped the recent home series against China because of Christmas vacations.