Pakistan fines rebel hockey players, spares them ban

Lahore: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has decided not to ban the eight players, including former captains Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi, for playing in the rebel World Series Hockey (WSH) in India. Instead, heavy fines would be slapped on them so that they would be eligible for selection in Pakistan`s squad for London Olympics.

Butt and Abbasi have each been fined $10,870 while Waseem Ahmed, Zeeshan Ashraf, Imran Warsi, Adnan Maqsood, Tariq Aziz and Mudassar Ali Khan will each have to shell out $2,717 if they want to play in the London Games, reports Xinhua. All eight defied the PHF and played in the WSH.

Earlier, it was feared that the PHF might ban all these players for at least two years, but the federation had to change its mind after national team`s poor performance in ongoing Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament in Malaysia.

Butt and Abbasi had to bear heavy fine because they were the part of the preliminary squad for the London Olympics.

"These two (Abbasi and Butt) have been fined more because they preferred to join illegal league for money over the national team`s interest," said a PHF official.

According to the official, the players will have to face a year-long ban from domestic and international hockey if they fail or refuse to pay the fine. The PHF has also given them a week`s time to appeal against the decision.

On the other hand, the players said they signed the agreement for the league before March 31, 2011, and the league was declared unsanctioned only after that.

The players requested PHF president Qasim Zia to withdraw the fine because it would be very hard for them to pay the amount. Most of the players said they would appeal against the decision and might also file a petition in the court.

PHF chief selector Hanif Khan welcomed the federation decision and said, "Now we have more options to finalise the team for the Olympics."

Pakistan are struggling to get back their lost glory in the field hockey in which they had won eight Olympic medals, including three golds.


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