PUTRAJAYA: Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh feels that it is difficult for every sport association to set up a foundation specifically to look after the welfare of former athletes in their retirement years.

Hannah said this is because every sport association has different financial capabilities, depending on the amount of sponsorships received and crowd attendance at competitions.

“It is good if every sport association can have its own foundation but it is not reasonable to say every association should have its own foundation. If associations themselves are looking for funds, how can they set up a foundation?” she said at a press conference here today.

She was responding to a question on whether it is appropriate for every sport association to set up its own foundation, after attending an incentive presentation ceremony organised by the Malaysian Hockey Foundation here today.

Hannah commended the Malaysian Hockey Foundation, which was established in 1992, for its initiative in helping former national hockey players, saying it could encourage young people to get involved actively in sports.

She said this included its sports retirement aid scheme of helping out former players based on their number of appearances with the national squad.

Under the scheme, Baljit Singh Charun Singh received RM41,840, Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin (RM19,040), Joel Samuel Van Huizen (RM10,400) and P. Pranbahkaran (RM10,400).

Meanwhile, Izwan Firdaus said he was touched by the gesture as people still remember his sacrifices for the country as a player.

“Such recognition means a lot to former players because we had sacrificed so much in training and playing for the country,” said Izwan Firdaus, who was in the team that won silver in the 2010 Asian Games.- Bernama