‘Sports bodies must learn to be self-reliant’ [The News]

‘Sports bodies must learn to be self-reliant’ [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

LAHORE: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee senior member Shahid Khokhar on Monday said that sports federations look for funding because they don’t have their own development strategy which should have been made at the time of their foundation.

“There was no development strategy of our federations and associations at the time of their foundation. Its result is that we look for funding for our sports growth. Till date no one in Pakistan even talked about what should be the structure of a federation which is necessary for making a revenue stream,” Shahid told ‘The News’ here in an interview.

“The fund which some federations receive from their respective international bodies is an additional support. It should not be counted as the foundation stone for the development of any sport,” Shahid said.

“In Pakistan many sports disciplines are run through foreign funding. Our sports system is based on donation approach. It is obsolete, not of help anymore,” Shahid added.

“There is a thought of community participation in the world but at that stage a direction is given so that it could convert to professionalism. This is the main reason that we cannot retain our talent after a certain age,” Shahid said.

“Our associations and federations need to get through a thorough operation in which they should be taught that it is their own responsibility to get self-sufficient,” he said.

“There are so many associations and federations which have been formed in a bid to receive funding from their international bodies and enjoy international tours,” Shahid was quick to add.

“These associations and federations are hybrid and not natural. Our federations should have such a capacity in their structure so that their product could sell and they stand on sustainable financial model,” he explained.

“The state’s sports institutions will give such things to the federations. They rather do clerical work at the second tier and below of their administrative structure and authoritarian work at the top. They should provide infrastructure as per requirement. The issue is that in some areas infrastructure is there but there is no one to use that. But in talent concentrated areas there is no infrastructure. The state should ensure infrastructure after a thorough research. Instead of controlling the associations and federations they should enhance the awareness of these bodies and give them technical knowledge,” Shahid said.

“We are at the politically contaminated stage. After this there is pre-development or preparatory stage in which you need to lay down your strategies. Then comes development stage where you need to implement your strategy by joining hands with federations and associations. There you are to give competitive shelf to your sports. When you do this you go forward and you are to prepare an administrative framework. And when your federations start growing and they grow so much that when in your country political challenges emerge then you are to adapt the authoritarian strategy,” he said.

“We are at the politically contaminated stage in sports and our government’s bodies approach is authoritarian. You cannot achieve anything through this pattern,” he said.

“If we talk about football it is a unique sport in Pakistan. Cricket is developed due to its fan-base which has created a full market. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) only administers it,” he said. “There is a huge role of some charismatic personalities and Pakistan-India rivalry in the growth of cricket. What happened with hockey? You did not make Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) a sustainable organisation. You ran this at that time at the administrative level and now it has collapsed. Instead of going a few steps down again effort is being made to run it through authoritarian approach.

Published in The News, 15 August 2023