KARACHI: Former Director General of Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Brigadier (retd) Arif Siddiqui on Saturday said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will have to bring in revolutionary changes if it is to develop sports.
“It is now or never. Imran will have to bring in revolutionary changes in the sports. He will have to impose ad-hoc on all federations and hold their elections afresh,” Arif told ‘The News’ in an Interview.
He said the step might invite International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) sanctions on Pakistan but it would be needed for the development of sports.
“If you don’t throw out those who are in federations for years and don’t give chance to the most competent younger generation you cannot promote sports,” Arif added.
He said that there was a need of a balanced society, adding, it could be formed through balanced behaviour and this was not possible without sports.
“If this is time to build a new Pakistan, then sports also deserves a share in it and should be developed through taking revolutionary steps,” Arif said.
He said that Pakistan is brimming with highly talented youth and they should be given a chance to take reins of sports management in the country.
“If you give confidence to the youth by telling them that they can do the job so I can say with confidence that they will live up to the expectations,” Arif conceded.
“No person above forty years of age should be in the federations,” he was quick to add.
Regarding PSB, Arif said it had been overloaded over the years with officers having no sports background.
“In the entire Board you will hardly find a single person with sports background. They should be expelled from the Board and university graduates with sports background should be given the opportunity to serve in their places,” the former DG PSB said.
“Besides federations there are several departments and organisations who own sports teams but no one possesses any such person who holds a masters degree in Sports Management,” he appended. He said Pakistan could benefit from China’s expertise in sports.
“China in 2008 won the Olympics with 50 gold medals and we can learn from them. There is no need of a sports university here but there is a need to run sports departments in four to five leading universities of the country which could prepare top technocrats for running sports departments,” Arif said.
About the issues obstructing Pakistan’s participation in the next month’s Asian Games, Arif said that national contingent should not be above 60 persons.
“Only those teams and players should be sent who have medal chances. There is a need to send hockey and kabaddi teams to the Asian Games. Squash, wushu, wrestling and weightlifting also deserve participation. The last two even won medals for Pakistan in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier this year and you cannot drop them,” Arif suggested.
“In South Asian Games, you can field maximum number of contingent as there you are to fight for maximum medals. You can field a big contingent in friendly events like the Islamic Games for the sake of experience but in Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics you will need to field those who can win medals,” Arif said.