ISLAMABAD: Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) on Wednesday took over control of four cricket stadiums of Islamabad after cancelling agreement with Northern Cricket Association (NCA) of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

In July last year, NCA and MCI had signed an agreement, under which MCI handed over four cricket grounds of Islamabad to NCA.

Sources in MCI said that NCA had the backing of former prime minster when it took over control of the four cricket grounds from MCI. But after the ouster of Imran government in April this year, the MCI took the control back from NCA.

Under the agreement, the NCA would not only operate four grounds but will also share 30pc income from these grounds with MCI.

The NCA was responsible for repair and maintenance of the four grounds including Diamond Cricket Ground G-8, Marghazar Cricket Ground Saidpur, National Cricket Ground F-7 and Bhutto Cricket Ground G-7.

NCA is among the six cricket associations, which PCB formed on the direction of former prime minister Imran Khan after abolishing departmental cricket.

Sources in MCI said that NCA had the backing of former prime minster Imran Khan when it took over control of the four cricket grounds from MCI.

The NCA had also set up House of Northern, a headquarters of the association in Diamond Cricket Ground, from where it was operating entire northern region.

However, a team of MCI backed by magistrates concerned on Wednesday took the control back of the said four grounds.

Officials of MCI said that the NCA violated agreement as it did not share a single penny of revenue it generated during the last one year.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Irfan Nawaz Memon, who is also the administrator of MCI, confirmed to Dawn that MCI has taken the possession of its grounds back from NCA. When asked about next course of action, he said that it is yet to be decided if these grounds will be operated by MCI or they will be auctioned.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) NCA Najeeb Sadiq told Dawn that the association would avail all available legal remedies, adding that association was given these grounds for five years.

“It was an agreement among four parties – MCI, CDA, NCA and PCB. So, how can MCI cancel it without hearing us. We are looking into all these aspects,” he said and added that majority of matches of national U-19 tournament starting from June 28, are slated to be held in these grounds whereas camp of national women team is also scheduled to be held in G-9 ground from July 1 to 10 ahead of Commonwealth Games. “We did a lot of repair and maintenance work, we have video evidences of before and after possession. Construction work of Hybrid wickets and pitches was in final state,” he said. Asked about not sharing profit revenue, he said: “Last year before signing agreements with NCA, MCI and CDA had taken possession of eight sports grounds from cricket clubs and individuals.

The CDA and MCI officials that time had said that all grounds and parks of the city belonged to the civic agencies and no one has the right to operate these facilities.

The said grounds were constructed and developed by CDA on its own land for citizens of Islamabad and later on after local government elections of 2015, the CDA handed over grounds to MCI.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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