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January 22, 2021

PCB vs BCCI: Pakistan spent Rs330m on litigation

National

 
January 22, 2021

Zahid Gishkori

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spent more than Rs330million on an arbitration seeking compensation from India but did not to retrieve any money, official record showed. This amount is 100% higher than the PCB’s annual budget allocated for the country's best 192 cricketers' meritbased stipends worth Rs169 million for the 2020-21 season. Despite having a commitment to a parliamentary panel, the PCB failed to conduct any enquiry to ascertain reasonswhy Pakistan lost its case before the International Cricket Council’s Dispute Resolution Forum (DRF). A parliamentary panel recently asked the PCB to determine the role of those officials of the board, who advised the management to file that claim without doing proper homework for compensation of some Rs4.5 billion against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani himself admitted that Pakistan did not tie all loose ends while claiming compensation of billions of rupees after the BCCI failed to meet its official commitments where six bilateral cricket series were agreed upon between the two countries in 2014. Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza made the revelations through her written reply that the PCB following an order of the DRF paid 60% of the BCCI’s legal cost of $1.53 million. The PCB paid 60% of DRF expensesworth $113,757 to the ICC, revealed Dr Mirza. The minister in her reply further stated that the PCB spent over Rs70 million on fees of multiple law firms and trips abroad of the PCB staff engaged in litigation and formal proceedings. For this the PCB management sought legal opinions from England and Wales, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates and pursued the matter before the DRC. Ebrahim and Hosain charged Rs26.2 million as fee, Clifford Chance LLP received Rs30.4 million for its services, Lord Pannick QC charged Rs4.6 million and Afridi and Angell received Rs0.711 million for giving legal advice to the PCB management, Dr Mirza informed the parliament. More than Rs10 million were spent by PCB officials on travelling and accommodation in Dubai accordingly, she added. MNA Saad Waseem, who posed questions to PCB officials on this matter, said: “We [MPs] want a thorough probe into this huge loss of over Rs330 million. We want to knowwhowas responsible for this flawed decision. The PCB should form a committee to probe the issue which must not be hushed up." Saad said that in one of the replies where the PCB management told him in writing that "the PCB provided delicate information with regard to remuneration of its employees in Feb 2015 to the parliament, but regrettably the confidential information ended upwith the electronic and printmedia and the same information was distorted and used to cast aspersions upon the PCB. Hence, no details to this effect can be provided [to the parliament]". Former PCB chairman Lt Gen (retd) Tauqir Zia says the PCB should probe this matter properly. Pakistan must have seriously thought out before going to the ICC as there was no proper agreement between the PCB and the BCCI, he said. "There might be a possibility of fraud or corruption in this issue involving such a huge amount. It was a wrong decision. The current PCB management should take up this issue now," Zia told Geo TV. The then PCB chairman Shehryar Khan who had taken that fateful decision chose not to comment on this matter. Despite several reminders sent by the Geo News, Khan did not respond. The current PCB management, however, told the Geo News that there is neither any requirement for an enquiry nor any enquiry/internal committee was formed." The decision to proceed with filing the appeal before the ICC’s DRF was taken by the PCB Board of Governors, who were briefed about the situation in detail, said Samiul Hasan, PCB director Communications. "After issuance of the DRF’s decision on costs, legal opinions were again sought. The BoG did not direct any further measures," he said. Even otherwise, PCB representatives have on numerous occasions appeared before various fora such as the National Assembly, Senate Standing Committees, Ministry of IPC, etc and answered all questions, he added. The PCB sent the dispute notice to the BCCI on May 4, 2017 and Pakistan formally filed a case against India for the compensation before the ICC DRF in 2017. Pakistani authorities wanted a decision in their favour in an attempt to force India to pay around Rs 4.5 billion as compensation. But the PCB lost this case against India after hearings were completed in Dubai by a panel of the ICC, headed by Michael Beloff in April 2018.