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September 16, 2020

Pakistan to compete in FIH Pro League III

Sports

September 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has decided to compete in the FIH Pro League III to be played in late 2021.

Pakistan missed the first two editions because of financial constraints.

After deciding at the eleventh hour not to compete in the first edition in Argentina and Down Under for its leg of commitments, Pakistan faced a heavy fine. However, that fine was later reduced by the International Hockey Federation following a meeting between the PHF and FIH officials in Switzerland.

‘The News’ has learned from well-placed sources in the PHF that following assurances from the federal government to help national hockey and also to direct provinces to do the same, things are now moving in a positive direction.

The recent meeting between COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa and PHF President Brigadier (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar also helped the federation make renewed efforts in uplifting Pakistan hockey.

“We have decided to figure in the FIH Pro League III as without playing in the tournament, competing against the world’s best teams will become a difficult proposition,” a PHF official told ‘The News’.

He said all efforts are being made to make the PHF financially sound. “Our recent meetings with the Prime Minister and COAS went very successful and we hope to make renewed efforts to promote hockey, nationally and internationally,” he said.

“In modern-day hockey you cannot think of raising an outfit capable of competing against the best without staying active throughout the year. The Pro League provides an opportunity to teams to improve their standard.

“We have already missed two FIH Pro Leagues and without going into details as what forced us to miss them, we have decided to take part in its third edition for the sake of hockey’s long-term promotion.”

The official admitted that promoting hockey at the national level was vital to excel in the international arena.

The FIH Pro League II returns on September 22 and 23 following a break because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reigniting the global league will be the men’s and women’s teams of Germany and Belgium as they take to the pitch in the first of a series of European focused matches.

Among the measures being taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the matches, the games will be played behind closed doors and in adherence to the safety guidelines of the competing governing bodies.