Scanty PSB grants upset national sports federations [Dawn]

Scanty PSB grants upset national sports federations [Dawn]

by Mohammad Yaqoob

LAHORE: While the National Sports Federations (NSFs) are not happy over the annual grant issued by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) terming it as peanuts, they are not ready to give their consent to a federal sports ministry proposal to form an election commission and appellate tribunal to get full control of the federations’ election system.

From Wednesday, the PSB started to disburse annual grants, ranging from Rs1 million to Rs1.5 million to each federation. And in two phases around 18 NSFs received these grants.

“We are thankful to the PSB for even keeping us in its mind. But what the PSB gave us is not even 10 per cent of the annual expenses of the federation,” president of one of the federations told Dawn.

“The PSB released an annual grant from Rs1 million to Rs 1.5 million and no one can justify that such amount can make any difference in the performance of the federations,” the president added.

The president of another federation on the condition of anonymity said every federation had to organise at least two or three national championships annually besides participating in a couple of international events abroad every year.

“This amount [received from the PSB] is negligible, not enough even to hold a national championship,” he lamented.

“Many national federations, which have made no achievement during the last several years, also received the same grants equal to those who have shown achievement at the international level, which signifies that merit is not being followed in issuing the grants,” he said.

“The PSB has asked the federations to submit a two-year activity programme and their [respective] targets. This is a practice [already] followed by the federations in the past, and now they have just received Rs1 million or Rs1.5 million,” he regretted.

“Actually the PSB has refunded a big amount to the finance ministry without using it and now it has started to release the grants amounting to peanuts, which have been approved in April,” the president remarked.

Meanwhile according to the president, the representatives of the national sports federations were invited to get the annual grant but they were being asked during the meeting to support the government proposal, being introduced in the new sports policy, of forming the election commission and an appellate tribunal to control the federations’ elections.

“All the national sports federations and the Pakistan Olympic Association are working under the IOC charter, which does not allow any government interference in the affairs of the federations and the POA,” the official maintained.

“Everyone knows due to the government’s [apparent] desire to interfere in the affairs of the federations and the POA, the country’s sports have suffered when the national sports policy came in 2004-05.

“Due to the government’s strict stance of implementing this sports policy the country was on the brink of being banned by the IOC in 2016. The IOC only deferred the ban after the government admitted the independent role of the federations as well as of the POA,” recalled the president.

In this scenario, the official feared, a number of sports federations may be suspended like the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).

“Learning nothing from the past, the government is again seeking to interfere in the sports federations’ affairs and if the federations agree all will be suspended by their respective international bodies, as FIFA has done with the PFF,” he warned.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021