Sporting fiasco

 
October 11, 2021

We had imagined that the prime minister would be able to work out a sports structure for the country which could bring sports in the country at least at the same level as that of neighbouring...

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We had imagined that the prime minister would be able to work out a sports structure for the country which could bring sports in the country at least at the same level as that of neighbouring countries that have moved well ahead of us. Instead what we see is a situation where tens of thousands of sportspersons from the various departments which have played a key role in the sport structure of Pakistan for the last many decades are in a state of uncertainty over their future, after word that the departments would not be able to compete in national level events. The departmental players and coaches staged a protest outside the Punjab Assembly and have demanded that clarity be given and that their jobs be secured. Putting thousands of sportspersons out of jobs certainly does not serve the purpose of sports itself. It is true that the sports structure in the country is in a bad shape, badly set up, and is in major need of change. However this change cannot come suddenly.

For cricket, six regional setups have already been established, but the PCB has at least some funds to finance them. Major players have been able to join these new leagues while others have gone without jobs and without any competition for their services. We do need to replace the strange role of departments with a regional base structure which can move from school, to club, to district and then provincial level as happens in many other countries. However, this needs to be carried out over a far longer period of time and far more consensus among all sportspersons and all major sporting bodies. It cannot happen suddenly and without proper notice or proper action to ensure sports people do not lose jobs. The result of this will be that even fewer persons will take up sport in the country as a career, and none of them will receive the kind of remuneration players who are enrolled in departments currently receive enabling them to carry on with training and improve their skills as far as is possible in an extremely flawed setup.



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