Politicising Sports

The leadership of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has, once again, inspired a political battle between PML-N backed Najam Sethi and PPP backed Zaka Ashraf. We saw how this played out in 2014, with most criticising the country for politicising sports as a whole. Given the history of how PCB has functioned, and the multiple issues of leadership and mismanagement that ensued, there is some truth to such criticisms. In fact, we have somewhat garnered a reputation for this and the worst part is the effect it has had on cricket itself.
Many have voiced concerns about the lack of stability in the PCB, especially when it pertains to its leadership. Back in 2014, top candidates Najam Sethi and Zaka Ashraf fought for the seat of chairman, and it seems as though the fight is between them once again. Within all of this however, it is clear that the issue has been politicised heavily, with political parties vying for their own candidates and launching political campaigns for them. In fact, all focus seems to be on this rather than the many problems that are nurtured within the PCB itself.
In PCB’s history, one major issue has been a frequent change in leadership itself, causing the entire cricket board to be subject to mismanagement as a result. In fact, there have been countless cases of nepotism and corrupt leadership that many have rung alarm bells against because it has inadvertently affected cricket as a sport as well. A lack of oversight has led to allegations of things like match fixing, budgetary inconsistencies as well as nepotistic appointments in key positions. Accordingly, the concern is not about which candidate is best suited for the position per say, but about the approach we have taken towards handling PCB as a whole.
Sports bodies across the world are supposed to be autonomous, with little direct interference by the government or state bodies. This speaks to the universation nature of sports, and the fact that it is a realm that unites instead of dividing. Accordingly, bipartisanship in the boards of integral sports, like cricket in Pakistan specifically, threatens to destabilise the entire body and is a breach of international procedures. In fact, it has the potential to undo all the positive gains we have made over the years.

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