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KARACHI: The disgruntled cueists will not be able to compete in national ranking events unless they tender written apology for their act to the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF), its president Munawwar Shaikh told a press conference at Karachi Gymkhana on Wednesday.

The executive committee of the PBSF has decided not to bow down before the angry players again until they go on the back foot, he categorically said.

Citing example of the preceding year, he said the PBSF was left with no other option but to accept their demands including financial raise on the eve of the 43rd National Snooker Championship that the players had linked with signing their one-year central contracts.

Elaborating further, he said the PBSF lawyer has asked to refrain from issuing show cause to cueists as the matter was in litigation after Mohammad Asif and Babar Masih have filed complaints to director general Pakistan Sports Board (PBB) for dropping them from Egypt-bound IBSF World 6-Reds and Team Event Championship last month on the pretext of not signing central contracts in advance.

He said it was due to PBSF’s efforts that six players have got employment in the National Bank.

At the outset, the PBSF unveiled its annual calendar which envisaged exactly a dozen foreign tours, three exceeding then last year, besides 10 domestic events including provincial cups.

Like last year, the calendar depicts similar trend of more focus on foreign trips despite paucity of funds. In the press conference Shaikh claimed that the PSB release meagre annual grant of Rs 3m to the PBSF which is insufficient as one foreign tour costs Rs 1m.

The significant thing is the launch of national junior under-16 snooker championship at the Islamabad’s PSB Sports Complex from Saturday. It is the brain-child of none other than Jubilee Insurance’s managing director Tahir Ahmed, who has long been advocating for it at all snooker forums.

It will run concurrently with the national under-18 and under-21 championships.

The three junior events will be immediately followed by national master’s at Lahore from Jan 24 to 27.

Like last many years, four national ranking competitions including 44th National Championship and the Pakistan Snooker League (PSL) have been planned.

Asked about setting up of academy at Karachi’s PSB Coaching Centre, the PBSF chief said that he had apprised the IPC Minister Fehmida Mirza in Islamabad but nothing concrete has come forward yet due to Sindh-Centre row over the 18th amendment.

It is pertinent to mention that despite the concerned authorities making tall claims for the last one-decade, no academy of the game exists in the country today.

Speaking on the occasion Tahir stressed for scouting hidden talent at the grassroots level. He said it was his desire to invest in young Lyari footballers who, if groomed properly, can bring laurels for the nation.

The former PBSF president Alamgir Shaikh also spoke on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019