Thursday, June 08, 2023

Minister opens fresh debate surrounding PCB chairman's appointment

PCB Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi and former PCB chief Zaka Ashraf. — PCB/AFP/File
PCB Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi and former PCB chief Zaka Ashraf. — PCB/AFP/File

KARACHI: A recent statement by the minister for interprovincial coordination, Ehsan Mazari, has launched a new debate over the nomination of the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Mazari, a representative of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the current PDM-led government, has publicly expressed his desire to appoint Zaka Ashraf as PCB chief who has previously served as the PCB chairman.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, it is understood, wants Najam Sethi — the PCB's management committee chairman — to continue as the PCB chief.

“When we had formed this government, we had an understanding that the party heading the relevant ministries, will have their men appointed in departments under the ministries,” Mazari had said recently.

However, it will not be an easy task for the PPP to have its man “appointed” as PCB chairman.

The constitution of the PCB is very clear about the election of the chairman.

Para 6 of the PCB constitution states: “There shall be a Chairman of the Board elected by the Board of Governors in accordance with paragraph 7 for a period of three years. The Chairman shall be eligible for re-election for one further term of three years provided that the total tenure of an individual as Chairman shall in no case exceed a period of six years.”

In addition, para 7 of the PCB constitution highlights the PCB chairman election process. It states that “a special meeting of the Board of Governors shall be convened to elect the Chairman from amongst the members of the Board of Governors, by a majority of the total voting membership of the Board of Governors”.

The board of governors of PCB includes four members from regional associations, four from service industries and two members nominated by the Patron in Chief of PCB — the prime minister of Pakistan.

The representative of the IPC ministry in the PCB BoG is an “ex-officio member” who does not have any right to vote.

Hence, the constitution is clear on how the PCB chairman is to be elected and who can nominate people to the BoG to head cricket's governing body in Pakistan.

If the PPP is determined to have its man, Ashraf in this case, then they’ll have to convince PM Shahbaz to nominate him as Patron’s representative in the PCB. There’s no other way for them.

According to ICC’s memorandum of association, each member – including Pakistan – must manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government (or other public or quasi-public body) interference in its governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in its cricket playing country (including in operational matters, in the selection and management of teams, and in the appointment of coaches or support personnel). Any breach of this obligation can lead to suspension of the member from ICC.

It is important for political forces to understand that sports bodies are everywhere autonomous and direct government interference in their day-to-day affairs or governance matter can be a serious breach.

Be it cricket, football, or hockey, politicians must keep sports away from their games.