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July 11, 2020

Sports stakeholders must make joint efforts, says POA chief


July 11, 2020

KARACHI: Hinting at the IPC minister’s recent antagonistic tone about the NOC and federations, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan on Friday said that all stakeholders should strive together to enhance the performance of the elite athletes.

“The most important thing is that we should make a coordinated effort to enhance the performance of our elite athletes,” he told a virtual press conference.

“We have no issue with them (the government authorities). We should respect each other,” Arif was quick to add.

About sporting ties with India, he said that Pakistan has no issues and that Indian teams have come, and are coming, to Pakistan. “We have no issues with them as their teams come here without any obstruction from our side. But when our teams are to go there they face NOC issues,” Arif said.

The POA chief further said if the government consulted POA about review of sports policy it would give its input. “Yes, if they ask our view, we will give advice,” Arif said.

Responding to a question, he said that sports devolution is not an issue. “The federal government is still responsible for the development of elite athletes,” he said.

When asked about the merit of the recently released grants-in-aid to 16 federations, the POA chief said that grants are usually given on the basis of needs. “The grants released recently can’t solve the problems. We will have to revisit the system,” Arif said.

Arif said that he hoped that the POA would get some share from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) COVID-19 aid. “If we do, we will spend it on those athletes who have qualified for Tokyo Olympics,” he said.

Arif said that the PSB Board should make policy decisions. “The PSB Board should be a regulatory authority and it should make policy decisions. One meeting in a year will not be enough. The Board needs to meet regularly. As far as representation of federations in the PSB Board is concerned, I think both Olympic and non-Olympic sports should be there,” he said.

Arif objected to the inclusion of football in the PSB Board, saying technically football is not a federation as a committee is handling it. “Hockey is also not there. If there is any governance issue then it can be resolved,” he was quick to add.

About the tenure restriction matter, Arif said that it is the decision of General Council. “There is no such thing like tenure restriction in the IOC charter for its affiliated associations. It is generally the decision of the POA General Council,” he clarified.

Arif said that sports activities should be resumed, especially of those non-contact sports in which SOPs could be followed easily.

About the 13th South Asian Games, Arif said: “On October 9, 2019, we had a meeting which was also attended by the PSB DG and Director Training Raja Zulfiqar and the list had been finalised.

“Selection of squads is the responsibility of federations. The PSB finances the process and the POA manages accreditation cards for the contingent,” Arif said.