The other day when I asked a senior official of the Pakistan Sports Board ( PSB) regarding the release of funds for the Pakistan karate squad which is set to feature in the South Asian Karate Championship in Colombo he said that the government would try to finance the tour, but asked me what the federation would do.
He said that being an NGO it was also the obligation of a federation to raise funds for itself. He said that the federations were only looking for state funding and did not do anything themselves for generating revenue.
I agree with the official. It is a real issue of the federations that they are unable to raise their own funds. Some federations, being run by influential and financially stable people, are able to support their teams at a time when the state is not giving money. But majority of the federations only rely on state grants and that is why their players’ growth is heavily hampered.
Some even get money from their players for featuring in any international event. It’s really heart-wrenching.
Pakistan’s Iranian volleyball coach Hamid Movahedi told me a few days ago that Iran Volleyball Federation generates huge amount through sponsors and that is why Iran has become a global power in the sport within a few years.
Look at India. It is making progress because besides a huge state funding its federations have been getting huge sponsorship for their athletes’ growth.
We know that in Pakistan it is not easy to attract sponsors for other sports as the corporate sector only thinks of cricket. Pakistani cricketers are being showered with money and expensive gifts following their triumph in the ICC Champions Trophy but when the country’s boxer Mohammad Waseem won WBC world silver title he begged for sponsorship but the corporate sector ignored him.
And there are other examples when Pakistani players despite achievements in international circuit were ignored by the corporate sector. Pakistan’s star karateka Saadi Abbas did not get sponsorship despite superb achievements in international circuit.
But federations are more responsible for the abject state of their athletes as it is their responsibility to attract sponsors. No federation has a specialised marketing wing to convince sponsors.
When their athletes fail to perform in international circuit they start blaming the government for not providing international exposure to their players and proper camps. They never think that they are also equally responsible for the downfall of sports.
Some people have been attached with federations for several decades but even they are unable to get sponsors. It’s a depressing situation.
Besides gaining sponsorship for running the affairs of the federations, they must also seek sponsors for constant growth of their leading players.
Keeping in view this situation Pakistan Olympic Association had pledged that it would be working seriously to generate revenue. But I don’t think the national Olympic committee has done anything substantial in that direction. The NOC of India is very rich as it is working on generating revenue. We should learn from them.
Pakistani cricketers can also contribute to the development of other sports in the country. In India we have seen that cricketers support the players who win medals in international circuit. Some of the cricketers own franchises in the Indian Super League (ISL), their football league.
But no Pakistani cricketer has ever contributed to the growth of any other sports discipline or sponsored any athlete.
Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif a few years ago was seen organising football tournaments but I think politics in the game discouraged him as he is no longer doing that.
Sports demand huge money. Only state cannot undertake the whole adventure. The federations will have to change their habits and work hard for generating revenues for proper handling of their sports disciplines.
They should know if they work hard everything is possible. If Islamabad Football Association and even Diya Women Football FC can send teams abroad for international meets, why can’t federations manage funds for their squads? The officials of federations should know that they are working for national cause and nothing else. This will lead them to produce athletes of global repute. It’s time to think like professionals and streamline marketing wings for ensuring better future of athletes.