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Pakistan Needs All Round Support (9/16/2007)
--K. Arumugam
The shifting Champions Trophy venue against the will and logic of the hosts Pakistan needs to be viewed in broader spectrum. Rather in a historical perspective. Blossoming the under glare of Olympics, World Cup and Asian Games titles, Pakistan conceptualized the Champions Trophy in an era dominated conservatism, in the mid 70s. Conservaties wanted ess competitions to keep the amateurish tenets of the sport up.

History has proved the Pakis’ adminos were correct. Champions Trophy is still the lone annual event under the ageis of the FIH. When the concept appeared heavy in terms of cost component, the proposal makers Pakistan even agreed to meet all expenses of the teams and assured to host every time the competitions would not find the hosts. So started is the story of Champions Trophy. Three decades later much water has flown down the Sind river.

Pakistan’s passion of this particular tournament can be understood from plain statistics. 12 out of … times the event has been held in Pakistan.

Now, the FIH has grown, many of the National Federations have found their financial moorings, with clever use of marketing and increasing competitiveness of their national teams. Therefore, there is a rush to host the event and it is all there for everyone to see. Now the added punch is the brownie points that would go into the making of FIH Rankings. Higher in the FIH rankings has many benefits and hence the Champions Trophy is liked by even those countries who could not make it to the elite group on merit, but still they could because of monetary clout.

Hockey Australia’s adamancy in not going to Pakistan, first in 2005 and then now put the hosts in an awkward situation. As many now claims, which country on the earth is safe, free from suicide bombers, of religious or ideological variety?

To single out Pakistan is not good for global hockey, that too at such a time the country’s hockey is going through a bad patch. Now that the inevitable is done, Pakistan case should be heard sym pathetically, and they should be allowed to take part in the event wherever it is held. At least some just would have been done by this for the promoters of the Champions Trophy.

Pakistan at this juncture needs a powerful statesman in the mould of Brig. MH Atif or Nur Khan. Their clout with the FIH is surely on the wane.

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