LAHORE-August 13, 2013: The Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) ‘direct’ approach to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in giving an Expression of Interest (EOI) for participation in the 2014 Games at Glasgow has resulted in a snub from the latter. The CGF has responded by directing the PHF that acceptance of its EOI was contingent on its being routed through “the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) led by General Syed Arif Hasan”.
In an effort to sidestep the internationally recognized POA, led by Lt. Gen. (Retd) Syed Arif Hasan by writing directly to the CGF to give its consent for participation in the Commonwealth Games 2014, in a letter dated July 29, 2013 by the PHF secretary Asif Bajwa has resulted in embarrassment for the latter.
The PHF letter said: “Pakistan hockey team has qualified for the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014 and we are willing/ready to participate in the Games.
“Unfortunately at present there is a serious problem with NOC Pakistan. We are facing lot of difficulty because there are certain decisions taken by the apex Court, as well as Government of Pakistan, that is why I am taking this opportunity to send you our ‘direct’ Expression of Interest, so that we are able to participate in the Games, in the mean time as soon as the situation improves, we will forward our willingness through NOC (National Olympic Committee).”
This ‘direct’ approach was summarily rejected by the CGF in its response on August 8, 2013. The CGF Chief Executive Officer, Mike Hooper in a tersely worded letter wrote: “Whilst I acknowledge receipt of your note below, I would advise that acceptance or otherwise of the recent invitation for Pakistan to participate within the Men’s Hockey competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games is a matter for our member Association in Pakistan i.e. the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) led by General Syed Arif Hasan.
“It is my understanding that as part of their internal processes the POA, in a communication to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on August 5th, provided the PHF with a copy of the invitation and in doing so they also outlined the basis upon which it had been issued. The PHF were invited to respond directly to the POA by 15 August, 2013.
“I would strongly suggest that you do just that.” [The bold for emphasis is from the CGF letter – copy attached]
Commenting on the issue, the POA President, Gen. Arif Hasan said: “The message of the CGF is loud and clear. Any effort to bypass the POA in order to participate in any international event, global or continental, shall similarly fail.
“This should be an eye-opener for the ill-advised PHF to mend its ways, and, as the POA has publicly advised it before, not hurt the interest of Pakistan Hockey by pushing unprincipled, petty and personal agendas. As officials of the PHF, the president and secretary of the national federation have a responsibility to ensure the well being and growth of the game in Pakistan. By shutting itself out of the international competition for the sake of one-upmanship would be no service to Pakistan Hockey – a national sport that every Pakistani holds dear”.