|No money, no Games|
14 September 2012
KARACHI: The Punjab Olympic Association (PbOA) was forced to postpone the 32nd National Games after failure of the Punjab government to release grants for the event that was supposed to start on October 16. The event has now been planned for December.
The decision was taken in a meeting, attended by all sports federation officials, which agreed that it was not feasible to hold the Games amid uncertainty surrounding its staging. While the event is now scheduled to start on December 17, the sports federations have been asked to bear the expenses.
“The Games will start on December 17 and the federations will be taking care of expenditure after a request from the PbOA,” one of the secretaries told The Express Tribune. The official added that PbOA President Syed Sahid Ali Shah even offered his resignation for failing to host the Games in October. However, the attendees put their faith in the association and promised that they will continue to back the body.
“It was agreed that full support will be meted out to the PbOA. The officials also showed some displeasure over Khyber-Pakhtunwa Olympic Association President Aqil Shah’s remarks of hosting the event in his province.”
Meanwhile, a secretary of a sports federation remarked that staging the Games, under the current set-up seemed impossible, since it had become a political issue. A grant of Rs50 million was sought from the government but, despite claims that a green signal was given by the Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz Shareef, the amount was not released on time. It is believed that the issue is due to the government’s intention of spending substantially on the maiden youth festival.
We’re confident of hosting the Games: PbOA
Meanwhile, the PbOA secretary said that the body was confident of hosting the Games in December.
When asked about the president’s resignation, he said, “Shahid Ali was a bit down on the Games not happening on time but his resignation was rejected.”
He also clarified that PbOA did not ask the federation to bare the expenses.
“There was a proposal presented by the federations that they are ready to bear their own expense and we should cut down on investing heavily on opening and closing ceremonies.”
An official, working with the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the Punjab government, said that any chance of the grant being released will depend on the implementation of the National Sports Policy, which was ordered by the Supreme Court and bars an official who has completed two four-year long tenures to hold office again.
He added that several sports federations’ officials are ineligible to hold office, adding that the PbOA needed to conduct elections.
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