The Pakistan hockey team members have said that they will not participate in the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia until their dues are cleared.
“The whole team has decided that we will not go to Indonesia for the Asian Games if we are not paid our dues,” the captain of the hockey team, Rizwan Sr told SAMAA TV. “We have been playing tournaments for the country but the government has not paid us for the past six months.”
The players said that the team will not be able to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Japan if they do not participate in the Asian Games 2018. “The government pay us our salaries right now,” said one team member.
Rizwan Sr asked how the team can be expected to win if there is no money.
According to the team captain, the players were upset about not being paid. He said that the entire team has decided to boycott the games until they get their salaries. “This is not a rebellion,” said the captain. “We have played for the country and have been waiting for our salaries for the past six months.”
Earlier, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had said that the team may not be able to perform in the upcoming Asian Games if their funds are not released. “We can only start preparations if there are funds,” manager Hassan Sardar said in a press conference. “Our entry into the tournament can be in jeopardy if there are no funds.”
'Will sell my personal belongings to clear the dues'
PHF president Brigadier (retd) Muhammad Khalid Sajjad Khokhar said that he had assured the players, managers and officials that their dues will be paid before they leave for the tournament.
“We are taking care of your expenses,” he said in a video message. “The Rs200-million grant for PHF has not been sanctioned by the government for some reasons. I had made it clear that the dues will be paid before their departure even if I have to sell my personal belongings.”
He urged the players to focus on their game instead of the salary issue. “We are indebted to them,” he said.
Khokhar said that those encouraging the players to boycott the games should think that the team is going to Indonesia for a “national duty”. He also advised the national hockey team that they should not issue such statements.