By Syed Khalid Mahmood
Pakistan’s participation in the upcoming IBSF Snooker Championship 2009 to be staged in the Indian town of Hyderabad has become doubtful once again, this time due to the shortage of funds. Earlier it was the issue of visas that had jeopardized Pakistan’s chances of competing in the global event.
Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, President, Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), has heaved a sigh of relief at having received the Indian visas as well as the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) but he’s deeply concerned with the part payment of the special grant believing that the financial constraints may not allow the Pakistan snooker squad to proceed to India.
“Only a grant of 40% of the total expenses submitted by the PBSA has been released by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the Federal Ministry of Sports which is insufficient to meet the costs pertaining to the participation of the World Championship,” he revealed in a conversation on November 4.
“In this regard, we have forwarded a written request to Federal Sports Minister, Pir Syed Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani and the departmental heads to intervene in the matter and release the required full amount of our submitted budget for the said event,” the PBSA President added.
“As the snooker squad is scheduled to depart for India on November 12 and time is running short to finalize the travel and other arrangements for the departure of the team, we once again request the Federal Minister to kindly issue instructions to the Pakistan Sports Board to release the balance 60% amount of the special grant,” Alamgir Shaikh remarked.
“We also would like to point out that the PBSA had to face the same situation for the participation in the IBSF World Snooker Championship of 2008 in Austria and the PBSA had to approach the Pakistan Sports Trust (PST) which provided a major portion of the Financial Assistance to salvage the situation,” he recalled.
“It may also be noted that due to paucity of funds Pakistan did not participate in the Asian Indoor Games, Hanoi, Vietnam as well, and if necessary funds are not released for the IBSF World Snooker Championship 2009 it will be big blow for the image of Pakistan Snooker at international level, causing concern for the Association to promote this game,” the PBSA President said
“Our track record will show that we have never missed a World Snooker Championship in the last 20 years, due to lack of funds, we earnestly request the Ministry to intervene in the matter saving us and the country from big embarrassment by not participating,” Alamgir Shaikh remarked.
The PBSA President, having spoken to the top officials of the Federal Sports Ministry as well as the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) earlier in the day, was optimistic about the release of some more funds within the next few days to meet the costs for the World Championship.
“The government officials have been supportive of our cause in the past. They do have their own constraints but we are confident of getting support for a tournament as important as the World Championship,” the PBSA President concluded.
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