‘Govt committed to implement tenure clause’

KARACHI: The government is committed to implement the national sports policy in the light of the May 8 Supreme Court decision, but it is waiting for the Lahore High Court (LHC) to allow the meeting of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), a top official of the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) told ‘The News’.

“We have not delayed the process and are committed to go for implementation of the national sports policy, but we are waiting for lifting of restraint on the PSB meeting,” the official said.

The PSB was forced to postpone its crucial meeting, which was convened on October 1 after Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) got a standing order from the LHC through a writ petition it filed a couple of days before the meeting. It raised several questions over the legality of the Board.

The court is yet to dispose off the matter and is going to hold a hearing on the subject next Monday.

“During the Board’s July 5 meeting we had given two months time to the federations for implementation of the national sports policy, including the tenure restriction clause, and we will ask them during the meeting after the restraint is lifted what they have done. If they do not act according to the policy, the Board will act according to the rules and under the light of the apex court judgment which is very clear,” said the official, who is very close to these developments.

Recently the LHC in response to a petition filed by Nadeem Sindhu ordered the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) to repeat the elections for all offices except that of the president.

Nadeem stated in his petition that he was a candidate for the post of secretary in the POA elections held in February but he was not allowed to enter the house where the electoral meeting was being conducted. “POA does not exist as per sports policy and its chief Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan is not a bona fide office-bearer as he has already served for two tenures,” the official revealed.

According to the sports policy, a single tenure of any member of federation or association will be of four years.

The president, secretary and the treasurer will be allowed a maximum of two tenures in any office of the federation or association after which they will become ineligible for holding the same posts of the that particular federation or association.

However, they will be allowed to contest for the next higher post of the federation or association at any time.

Tenure restriction will not be applicable to the office-bearers of the federations holding posts of the president or secretary of the World or Asian federations.

Several federations and provincial associations will be affected by the implementation of the sports policy.

Arif Hasan says that because POA is not an affiliated body of the PSB so he is not affected.

But the Board is of the view that the president of the POA is equally affected according to the policy.

The policy’s 11th paragraph says about the national and provincial Olympic committees that (a) these will be elected by the constituent national sports federations/ departments and provincial sports associations; (b) one tenure of any office-bearer of these committees will be of four years; (c) president, secretary and treasurer will be allowed a maximum of two tenures only. They will become ineligible for any office after two tenures and must vacate their positions for new incumbents. However, an individual will be allowed to contest for next higher association at any time.

The IPC official also claimed that there was no chance of a ban on the country by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) if the PSB implemented the policy. “Such decisions are usually made by the IOC Executive Board. Even the IOC has two tenures for its president. We are not violating any charter of the IOC and we have to run our own affairs for our own betterment,” the official said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the IOC has no objection over the implementation of the tenure restriction clause and has advised the stakeholders to resolve the issue amicably.

When told that Pakistan football is being funded by FIFA and the world football governing body could impose ban on Pakistan if the PFF president gets affected by the policy, the official said, “PFF is not an independent body and it is not the property of any individual but is a national asset. FIFA is funding PFF because of Pakistan and not vice versa.

“First comes the sovereignty and then funding and other connections and we have to first safeguard the sovereignty,” he asserted.

Tenure restriction has been applicable in India since 2001 and it is good for the development of sports, said the official.

Source: Alam Zeb Safi [The News]