Federal govt asks departments to stop funding sports teams

Published September 25, 2021
Logo of the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination. — Photo courtesy Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination Twitter/File
Logo of the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination. — Photo courtesy Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination Twitter/File

LAHORE: Thousands of players in about 30 different sporting disciplines are set to be rendered jobless after the federal government issued a notification asking all public departments, corporations and autonomous bodies to stop their funding to sports teams and instead begin diverting them to regional teams.

“In a meeting on revamping of sports governance structure in Pakistan held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Sept 1, the Honourable Prime Minister was pleased to desire to discontinue funding to the departmental sport teams of various government agencies/corporations/autonomous bodies and, instead these funds may be utilized for the promotion of regional sports teams,” the additional secretary of the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination Mohsin Mushtaq Chandna has written in a letter which was received in different departments working under the government.

He further asked them to divert funding to regional teams.

“In order to implement the directions of the Honourable Prime Minister, you are therefore requested to prepare a practical transition plan to divert funding from departmental teams to regional teams, within two months, which should be implemented in a period of six months with effect from March 1, 2022,” the letter concluded.

One of the salient features of the National Sports Policy that the Ministry of IPC has been proposing is “discouraging departmental sports”, Dawn has learnt on authority.

A copy of that letter has been sent to chairmen of the Pakistan International Airlines, Islamabad, Wapda, Higher Education Commission, Railways, FBR, IGs of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir and President National Bank of Pakistan.

The move comes after Prime Minister Imran Khan abolished the departmental setup in cricket, which resulted in thousands of cricketers losing their jobs.

Although the departments had been asked to divert funds to sponsor the six newly-formed Provincial Cricket Associations, instead of spending that amount on their own teams, not a single department has been able to make rules to transfer those funds.

Pakistan has historically produced sportsmen who have excelled in their disciplines through the departmental system.

An official of one of the departments, which received the letter, told Dawn that it is not possible for them to transfer its funds to regional teams.Most sportsmen in Pakistan are employed by departments, most notably javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and Talha Talib, who impressed with their performances in this year’s Tokyo Olympics. Both represent Wapda.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2021

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