Internationa Hockey Federation (FIH) has approved Pakistan hockey federation’s request to make Scotland their neutral venue for all home games starting from 2019 to 2022. The development was confirmed by Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Shahbaz Ahmad Senior who said that the organisation had requested the FIH to allow the country to pick Scotland as neutral venue to host its international matches amid security concerns in the country. The request was approved by the FIH.
“This will certainly help Pakistan hockey a great deal and also attract the youngsters towards adopting hockey as a profession,” Shahbaz told Pakistan outlet Nation. “From now on to 2019, Pakistan will be able to host top hockey playing nations like Australia, Argentina, Netherlands, Germany and others,” he added.
This is in accordance with Pakistan cricket team who play their ‘home’ matches in the UAE due to the aversion of other teams to tour Pakistan after the Sri Lankan team bus attack in 2009.
Shahbaz said that despite the financial burden of the endeavour, the returns from the crowds drawn and the exposure for the players is far big of a positive in comparison. “Ofcourse, we need around Rs 70 to 80 million for that purpose, but one must also remember at least Rs 30 million have been spent on only one foreign tour of green shirts, while on the other hand, the advantage and exposure of playing against top sides of the world will boost hockey in Pakistan and green shirts will learn a lot while playing against the top sides of the world.”
“If we compare benefits, then expenditures are nothing. At some stage, we have to take that step to revive hockey in Pakistan, as young generation is fast declining to adopt hockey as professional careers and more interested in playing cricket,” he added.