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.