Politicization of Sports Organizations

Ever since cronies and political appointees have been made heads of sports bodies and organizations, performance on the field and at key international events like the Olympics has declined. This became acute after Arif Hassan was appointed as the head of Pakistan Olympics. He remained in this position for over 20 years, during which the country did not win any medals. It was only when he chose to leave that there was a change.

When favoritism becomes the norm and heads of hockey, football, and other federations are appointed based on connections, funds allocated are at their discretion, and nominated board members lead to indiscipline. We have witnessed large numbers of sports officials accompanying players to international events, enjoying free trips. Funds should only be spent on players, their training, and upkeep, not on officials. The appointment of retired officers to head these organizations has not benefited the games. Dual federations for Pakistan Hockey, Pakistan Football, etc., have become common, and the games have suffered. Funds were either abused or wasted on purposes other than promoting the game.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has also tolerated players involved in match-fixing despite enough evidence casting serious doubts about their integrity. There should have been zero tolerance for individuals involved in irregularities. Sports organizations should be headed by professionals with integrity and no stigma attached. Merit must prevail in the choice of appointments to sports organizations, rather than these positions being doled out to cronies and favorites of a powerful few.



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