ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Wednesday protested against the decision of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to scrap Champions Trophy after its 2018 edition.
“In light of the recent decision of the FIH, it is a matter of immense disappointment and dismay for the PHF to learn that the FIH has decided to eliminate the ever-exciting Champions Trophy from its yearly calendar all of a sudden without any prior consultation with the PHF whatsoever,” read a press-release issued by the PHF.
It said the PHF had introduced the Champions Trophy in 1978. Since then, the tournament had been set for 35 times out of which Pakistan won the title thrice (1978, 1980, 1994).
World’s top hockey teams come together to lock horns for the said title. It was changed from an annual to a biennial event from 2014 onwards, due to the introduction of the Hockey World League.
Astonishingly, the PHF, fearing dismal performance by the green-shirts, had announced last month that the national team will not participate in the mega event this year, scheduled to be held in London in June.
The press-release further stated, “Pakistan always remained vigilant and supportive for the best interest of our national game and its audience and such decisions result in dissuasion of hockey governing bodies for taking constructive initiatives for the growth and development of hockey.”
PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed, while talking with Dawn, said there was no connection between FIH scrapping the Trophy and Pakistan’s refusal to participate in this year’s event.
“We took that decision in the greater interest of our team. We had short time left for preparation so without complete preparation there were certain chances of big defeats, which will shatter confidence of our young team,” he said.
The FIH Executive Board had met in Lausanne, Switzerland earlier this month to give final shape to proposals for new tournaments and scrapping some old ones.
When contacted, PHF president Khalid Khokhar said the PHF was not informed by Qasim Zia, who is an FIH board member from Pakistan, about the latest developments at the FIH and its decisions.
“We are not against the addition of new events but those should not be held at the cost of Champions Trophy, which we introduced in 1978. He said he would take up the matter with FIH through proper channel, requesting it to reconsider its decision.”
Former head coach Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh also regretted over the FIH decision.
“The matter should be taken up with the FIH. If they want to add new events, that’s great, but not at the cost of our baby (Champions Trophy),” he said.
Courtesy : Dawn News