LAHORE: The chairman of Prime Minister Task Force on Sports Ehsan Mani has said that there is no need to issue any grant to any national sports federation until they assure good performances at international events.
In a media talk the other day, Mani was reminded that none of the sports federations have received annual grants from the Pakistan Sports Board (PCB) this year. His reply was: “The grants should not be given until the time these federations assure the government about their business plan. At least the government has the right to ask from the beneficiary of the grant what it will achieve and what their targets are? How much the funds will help you and there will also be accountability.”
When Mani was told about the upcoming South Asian Games, to be held in Nepal in December this year, and the government must release funds to ensure that proper training camps are set up to field a strong Pakistan contingent, he said: “Why Pakistan should participate in these games when it has to come last.”
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan had attained third place among eight-nation regional gala held in Guwahati and Shillong, India in 2016. And Pakistan will have to play host to the Games in 2020 as well.
To a question that the PSB has been issuing meager grants in the past which are not enough for the federations to prepare the athletes well enough to earn medals at the world level, Mani said that was a separate matter. The fact is that relations between the national sports federations and the PSB are at a standstill since the PTI government has come at the helm.
It may be mentioned that though Mani as chairman of the task force had submitted its recommendations to lift the standard of the sports some five months back, no one knows if those recommendations are being considered at all. The last federal budget 2019-20 was announced a couple of days back but no measure is seen in the budget that could endorse the task force report.
Mani further said that the government had issued millions of rupees to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) but the government had no record where the amount was spent. According to the tradition, the PHF has been getting the grant from the government when Prime Minister’s own nominated person is running the PHF, which is not the case at present.
Mani said that he had recommended to the government to form an institution named as Pakistan Sports on the pattern of UK Sports. He said UK Sports was ready to help out Pakistan in establishing a similar institution. He said the government should pick eight to ten top games in the country to patronize.
It may be mentioned here that UK Sports is running with huge funds being generated through the UK National Lottery under the government patronage. But here in Pakistan, the government is reluctant to play its due role.
Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2019