Sport and politics

Obviously, sports and politics are joined at the hip. It shows that governments have a large role in the running of the game. The lat­est example is the Pakistan Hock­ey Federation, whose top officials the government wants to change through fresh elections. Howev­er, the incumbents reject such in­terference in the game’s governing body, saying the latter is autono­mous and affiliated with the In­ternational Hockey Federation and the Pakistan Olympic Associ­ation. PHF president Khalid Sajj­ad Khokhar got himself re-elected last year, holding elections on his own despite the Pakistan Sports Board’s formation of an election committee. The PSB suspended all PHF officials last month in order to conduct fresh polls.

Like the PHF, the FIFA-desig­nated Pakistan Football Federa­tion Normalisation Committee has also seen its relations soured by the delay in holding elections. The committee has also suffered de­lays in the issuance of the no-ob­jection certificate for two tours of the national team. Therefore, FIFA and the Asian Football Confedera­tion have to meet the government and normalisation committee soon to decide the way forward for the election, highlighting that the world’s governing body has understood that working with the government is crucial for re­solving issues. Unfortunately, the state’s role in sports remains un­defined post-the 18th Amend­ment, when sports were devolved to the provinces. Hence, it is high time that all stakeholders work to­gether to find a solution that up­holds the autonomy of sports bodies while ensuring the effec­tiveness of government overnight.



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