Did PCB take funds intended for Olympic sports?

Revelation comes despite cricketing body’s stance that it has never taken money from national exchequer

Sarfraz Ahmed (third right) lifts the trophy as Pakistan players celebrate their win at the presentation after the ICC Champions Trophy final cricket match between India and Pakistan at The Oval in London. — AFP/File
Sarfraz Ahmed (third right) lifts the trophy as Pakistan players celebrate their win at the presentation after the ICC Champions Trophy final cricket match between India and Pakistan at The Oval in London. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: In a startling revelation, it has emerged that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has benefitted from the national by receiving funds from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).

As per The News, the PSB gave a whopping Rs205 million to the PCB which then distributed the money among the winning team of the 2017 Champions Trophy.

What’s shocking is that the funds received by the cricketing body were meant for the development of Olympic sports in the country.

The cash-rich PCB has always claimed that it has never taken a single penny from the national exchequer, hence is not answerable to the government — an excuse the PCB officials have presented many times during the Senate and National Assembly committee meetings.

The News however learnt that Rs205 million were doled out to the Champions Trophy winning team from the PSB’s exchequer instead of taking the money out from the PCB’s kitty. Since the amount was meant for the cricketers, there was no bar on taking the prize money out of the board’s kitty but instead, [the country’s] Olympic sports had to bear the brunt as the PSB was asked to release the amount instead.

“The documents submitted with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by the PSB reveal that a hefty amount of Rs205 million was drawn from the PSB’s kitty for cricketers. The PCB is one of the richest organisations in the country and as such can easily spend and contribute to cricketers’ benefit in a big way.

“The Olympic sports hardly get any grant from the government. It was unjust to deduct the PSB’s amount meant for Olympic sports for the cricketers’ benefit. The PCB is there to look after the cricketers and there is no one except the government to contribute to other sportsmen’s cause as they are preparing for the national and international events,” an official from the sports federations said.

He contemplated that Rs205 million was deducted from the amount meant for the Olympic games athletes at a time when the 12th South Asian Games scheduled in Nepal were just around the corner.

“It was really unjust to pull out the amount for cricketers from the sports budget meant for other sports. The PCB should have come forward and given the prize money to the Champions Trophy-winning team on its own instead of taking the money out of the PSB’s kitty.

“The prime minister is the patron-in-chief of the PCB and has every right to divert some of the amount for cricketers’ benefit or award prize money to them. Then why was the amount taken out from the PSB kitty. The PSB has never supported the federations in a big way. The hefty amount of Rs680 million it received as a special grant should have been diverted entirely to the Olympic sports,” the federation official added.