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Writ of govt to be upheld in settling matters with POA: PSB

LAHORE: While stating that the Pakistan Sports Board will ensure the law of the land is followed by all sports federations of the country, PSB director general retired Col Asif Zaman on Wednesday said the writ of the government would be upheld in dealing with the matters involving his organisation and the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).

The POA, International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the government of Pakistan were involved in a cross collision from 2012 to 2014. The uncalled for situation had brought the country to the brink of suspension by the IOC in 2014. But then the government bowed down to the IOC Charter and an agreement was signed which accepted and recognised the POA role and respect for the IOC Charter. However, the cold war between the POA and the PSB continued signifying both the organisations have little care that the standard of sports in the country have been rapidly falling.

When asked if all the issues between the POA and the government had already been settled in 2014, Asif said then some weak people might have failed to deal appropriately with the situation but now the writ of the government would be upheld.

“The case is simple: those who cannot perform should go home and there is no need to continue working for decades without delivering and letting other people come forward to serve,” Asif said while talking to Dawn.

While claiming there were no issues, Asif said the rules of the land would be applied on all the national sports federations which were using the name of Pakistan.

“The PSB will ensure that the law of the land is being followed by all those who are using the name of Pakistan, like the Pakistan Boxing Federation, Pakistan Squash Federation and so on,” he said.

The PSB director general was responding to queries in the wake of a joint letter sent recently by the IOC and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to POA president retired Lt Gen Syed Arif Hasan in which the two international bodies have expressed their concern over the resurfacing of issues between the POA and the government on several sports-related matters. The two bodies have advised the POA to meet the government authorities to ensure the importance and the respect of Olympic Movement in the country.

“As you know, the IOC/OCA position has been retired on Sept 17 states clearly expressed on numerous occasions and in many communications with your NOC and the government authorities over the past decade, and mutual understanding was eventually reached with the government authorities and all parties concerned to resolve the situation. It is therefore highly unfortunate to note that similar issues seem to have resurfaced,” the IOC in a letter written to Arif stated.

Asked when the POA and the national federations had their own system as they were elected and not appointed by the government and how the latter could dismiss any office-bearer elected by his respective general body, Asif said they all had to perform.

The POA has expressed its reservations over some clauses of the newly-proposed national sports policy, which is yet to be approved. The POA concern is mainly about the clause related to the formation of the election commission and the appellate tribunal, which give the government power to hold elections of the national sports federations and to form the appellate tribunal to hear appeals.

The national sports federations have also rejected these clauses, considering these are against the IOC Charter which gives autonomous status to the federations to deal with its affairs.

“We, therefore sincerely trust that all parties can address these issues responsibly and in good faith with a view to resolving this situation amicably and peacefully in the framework of the Olympic Charter, so as to avoid any unnecessary escalation. To this end, we would appreciate it if you could forward a copy of this letter to all government authorities concerned and reiterate the need for an urgent meeting between all parties concerned in Pakistan,” the IOC and OCA stated in their joint letter.

When asked as the IOC/OCA had advised the POA to meet all the government authorities to ensure the respect of the IOC Charter, if there would be a dialogue between the two in near future, Asif said he did not oppose anyone as the government’s objective was to improve the standard of sports in Pakistan and to make accountable those who could not perform despite remaining at the helm for decades.

Meanwhile, the IOC/OCA letter also reminded that in 2019, Supreme Court of Pakistan, in for all that your NOC was a legally independent and non-government entity.

“This was a decisive milestone for recognition and protection of the autonomy of your NOC and the whole Olympic Movement in your country, in accordance with the principles and rules of the Olympic Charter,” the letter stated.

“Unfortunately, we note that the process that seems to have been initiated recently by the Pakistan Sports Board to establish government-controlled “electoral commissions” to conduct the elections of National Sports Federations and government-controlled “dispute-resolution commissions” to adjudicate disputes relating to the National Sports Federations to appoint ad-hoc committees within the National Sports Federations, is not in line with the principle of responsible autonomy of the Olympic Movement and the above-mentioned elements.

“Therefore, we can only support the resolution taken by your NOC General Assembly on May 3, 2021 to refuse any such proposals and any undue interference from government entities with the internal governance of the National Sports Federations, which the rules of the International Sports Federations concerned,” read the letter.

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