NA body worried over 'poor' performance of sports

Dilates upon reasons why hockey is dying; recommends funds to revive the sport


APP September 11, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) on Friday expressed disappointment over the "poor performance" of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The IPC committee, chaired by MNA Nawab Sher, noted with annoyance that the federation had been "performing poorly" for the last 17 years while inquiring from the POA about the reasons its President Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hassan was not attending the meeting.

POA Secretary General Khalid Mahmood informed the meeting that Hassan could not attend the meeting as he was currently on a trip abroad, assuring that he will be present in the next meeting. He told the panel that the total annual budget of the association amounted to around Rs50 million which he said was regularly accounted for by the auditors.

The meeting also confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting and a report on implementation status of the committee proceedings to discuss the prevention of Offences in Sports Bill, 2020 moved by MNA Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan.

The committee, after receiving a briefing on the said bill from a representative of the Ministry of Law and Justice, asked the ministry to present a comprehensive report on the bill in the next meeting of the body.

The committee also deferred the matter to discuss the question moved in the House on February 7 by MNA Dr Mahreen Razzaq Bhutto due to the non-presence of the mover.

Further, the committee also dilated upon the reasons for the downfall of hockey, seeking a rundown on it and measures that could potentially revive the sport.

Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary General Asif Bajwa lamented that the "structure was outdated", adding that upgrading the structure in order to meet the international standards was crucial.

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"Our neighbouring countries are spending plenty of money on hockey whereas the budget we earmark for the sport was far too low and inefficient," he added.

Bajwa said that during the last three years, the country could only participate in only four international matches, stressing that it required 30 to 35 international matches annually to resuscitate hockey.

"If provided with the financial assistance that's given to cricket, we would give you better results," he assured.

The secretary general suggested setting up a 'school of excellence' for hockey in every province.

Answering whether the funds provided to the PHF were properly audited, the secretary apprised the committee that PHF routinely went through three types of audits every year: internal, external and governmental.

IPC Secretary Mohsin Mushtaq informed the committee that steps were being taken to push provinces to invest in sports such as football, hockey, kabaddi and volleyball at school level.

Further, he said that a new sports policy would be presented before the federal cabinet within a period of a month.

Nawab Sher, the chair of the standing committee, recommended that in order to rehabilitate dying hockey, funds of around Rs1 billion should be kept aside for the sport.

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