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Editorial: FIH need to formulate Pakistan Hockey P (7/11/2015)
--K. Arumugam
Editorial: FIH need to formulate Pakistan Hockey Promotion Project

One of the most revered and most feared field hockey nations, Pakistan, is in dire need of all round support, as its fortunes and future dips and trips each passing day. The importance of Pakistan hockey for the over all development of global hockey needs no elaboration. Its stating the obvious.

If not for anything, Pakistan hockey has to survive as a vibrant force internationally at least for three reasons.

Firstly, Pakistan, together with India, represents a different school of hockey. Their artistic brand bemused the world at least for six decades from the 1920 to 80s. If either India or Pakistan hockey doesn’t survie, this brand of hockey, though not winning for them medals, will be a thing of fast. That will spell doom for world hockey where even now 90 percent of players start their career on grass or mud-backed grounds. undefined

Secondly, Pakistan’s contribution in converting fiercely conservative body like FIH, which toed Avery Brundage brand of amateurism, is immense. They played pivotal and pioneering role in field hockey having its own competitions like World Cup and Champions Trophy. These have great historical significance, as these events are backbone of contemporary hockey.

Thirdly, Asian hockey will slowly melt away without Pakistan, as India-Pakistan sustains hockey’s presence at the Asian Games. Hardly, 5,6 countries play there good hockey.

It was in those days when the FIH was ruled by orthodox umpire turned administrator like Etinne Glitchith -- who were loathe and were taking almost 4,5 years to seriously look at the India-Pak’s combined proposal of World Cup -- the Pakistan Hockey Federation headed by Air Marshal Noor Khan and engineered by its Secretary General and 4-times Olympian MH Atif agreed to bear even the travel costs of all the participating teams besides hosting the event! They wanted World Cup at any cost.

Only then the FIH relented and we had our first World Cup in 1971. undefined FIH put in place a World Cup almost 40 years after football, that too after so much persuasion, prompting and even cajoling. PHF presented the invaluable World Cup and Champions Trophies. Its time now the hockey community to pay back.

Pakistan hockey is in need of it.

The global governing body of field hockey, the Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH), being sensitive to traditional hockey bastions and their health, formulated Indian Hockey Promotion Project a decade ago when Els van Breda Vriesman was its visionary chief. It was a joint project of FIH and the International Olympic Committee. Nitty gritty of the Project is well known, and can be browsed in this site.

India Hockey Project was put in place in the early 2006.

Indian hockey then was a silver medallist at the Asian Games, have been qualifying for all World Cup and Olympics.

Now that Pakistan did not qualify for the last World Cup and the next Olympics, the situation is grimmer than what was the Indian scenario in 2006.

In the past when an earthquake hit both India and Pakistan, the FIH organized a chain of events including an India-Pak match in Chennai as a symbol of sympathy and also to collect donation.

Now both Tsunami and Earthquake have struck Pakistan.

What Pakistan need right now is not money, but moral support. Their government and other agencies do not seem to extend timely help in terms of funds to the PHF. The PHF doesn’t seem to offer anything to the government in terms of events due to some socio-political issues.

Therefore, the FIH can visit Pakistan and discuss with the Govt, and motivate them to open their purses.

The FIH can persuade nations to visit Pakistan to bring them into manifold and strike with their local mass. undefined

Except China, no country have ever visited Pakistan in the current decade. The FIH can help sort out the matter with a Continental teams like Africa, Asia, Europe etc. If these symbolic tours are successful in terms of safety, which I believe it will, others nations will automatically follow suit.

Innovations such as these can help Pakistan hockey to wriggle out of the chrysalis of darkness. If funding is the problem, the FIH can think of a fund raising event which will strike response chord with Pak & India diaspora.

Its actually time not to sit and watch. Its time to think and act differently.

Let us save Pakistan Hockey with their dignity and pride in tact.

Pic caption:
Top: Pakistan players celebrating the goal that gave them the Olympic hockey gold in 1968.
IOC President Avery Brundage giving away gold to Pak legend Brig MHF Atif at Rome
Bottom: India-Pak clash, always a sell out across the globe

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