‘Courts should tell litigants to go for arbitration’ [The News]

‘Courts should tell litigants to go for arbitration’ [The News]

KARACHI: Prolonged litigation among representative bodies during the last few years has destroyed Pakistan’s sports beyond repair. Besides the legal battle between the government and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) which crippled sports from 2012 to 2014 several federations got involved in prolonged legal battles which caused a huge damage to various sports disciplines.

There are a few federations still facing litigation. The most important case is that of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF). Lahore High Court (LHC) has been hearing the case for almost one year. For the last 13 months, football activities in the country have remained halted because of the litigation process.

A highly experienced sports official says that the role of arbitration is very important to tackle such issues. “Arbitration is a recognised procedure all over the world. Those federations and associations that have their own arbitration can resolve their conflicts without taking them to courts. The courts should not admit every case. When somebody files a case, courts should tell them that they should take up the issue through the relevant arbitration body. If that is unable to resolve the issue then a person should go to courts,” the official, who heads a national federation, told ‘The News’ on Monday.

However, he was quick to add that it was the fundamental right of every citizen to go to courts to seek justice.

The official said litigation took a lot of time. “The courts have to deal with other very important issues, so resolving sports matters takes time,” the official said.

The official said that the government’s interference in football affairs was violation of a Supreme Court decision. “In the light of the May 8, 2012, Supreme Court decision if a federation disaffiliates itself from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) the latter cannot interfere in its affairs as it is the fundamental right of the federation to run its affairs independently,” the official pointed out.

Pakistan Wushu Federation (PWF) has also been facing financial crunch for the last four years because the PSB is not providing it funds due to a stay order.

When asked whether there was need for a National Arbitration Committee to speedily handle such disputes, the official said that the existing arbitration mechanism in the federations and the associations could resolve conflicts.

Published in The News, 31 May 2016