by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: Former national team assistant coach Hassan Baloch has claimed that some mischievous elements in Punjab routinely misuse sporting privileges to send people abroad under the garb of sports.
Two football officials of the Punjab U16 team, allegedly running a scam, were recently arrested in Islamabad for attempting to take a trio of overage men, who had nothing to do with football, to a tour of the US.
While the news may sound shocking, Baloch wasn’t surprised as he claims that sending people to foreign tours in exchange for money is an old trick to make a quick buck.
“It is sad because it only makes things worse for footballers who actually work hard to become something. This is an old practice that sees certain individuals abuse sports,” Baloch told The Express Tribune.
“Seven or eight years ago, the Pakistan Football Federation received a lot of complains about this, therefore, we had to work with the FIA and get NOCs from the government.”
However, Baloch — who has also coached at multiple youth levels — was quick to disassociate the federation from the tricks some play in its name.
“It’s impossible for the federation to be involved because there is a procedure that is followed before every foreign tour, including holding training camps and pressers,” explained Baloch.
The federation too has clarified that the recent case had nothing to do with it, and that the team in question had gone to the US to play futsal and not football.