Nasty media wars undermine PCB, national interest: PCB

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday issued a press release in response to a story published in The News. The PCB is shocked by the irresponsible and false reporting in The News today titled “PCB allows top Pak cricketers to play in dubious Indian-owned league”. It seems competing media interests are dragging PCB into a nasty situation against national interest.
The facts are contrary to the news on the T-10 league which is set to take place in Sharjah from December 14 to 19, 2017.
1) The ICC has not disapproved the league. In fact, it has lent the support of its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) to it to ensure it is free of such problems, the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Cricket Boards are fully supporting it with one team each of their players.
2) The PCB has taken a fee of US $400,000 from the league to allow only ten of its centrally contracted players to participate in it. This money is being spent on game development in the country.
3) 80% of the shares of the company that owns the league are held by Pakistanis, the owners are meanwhile Muslims. The one Indian minority shareholder is also a Muslim.
4) The PCB BoG has agreed to support the league following a firm request from the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) that is a PCB partner in critical ways by hosting PSL and PCB bilateral cricket series. The apprehensions of two PSL franchises were resolved in a meeting on the subject earlier and there is no conflict of interest or competition between a 10 over league spread over four days only in one venue and PSL spread over 34 matches and six weeks in four venues.
5) Players from six top cricketing national Boards like England, West Indies, South Africa, etc have got NOCs to play in this league. These include Eoin Morgan, Shakib ul Hassan, Carlos Braithwaite, Dinesh Chandimal, Darren Sammy, etc. In fact, many current players from across the globe are featuring in the league which shows the PCB has released players in a competitive event.
6) One PSL franchise owner has a financial stake in the league and believes that this supplements its bigger interest in the PSL instead of undermining it.
7) It should also be noted that Anti-Corruption Laws of ICC will be applicable. This means there will be an Anti-Corruption Unit set up for the event like in any international event or league to keep an eye on players, and keep the game free of corruption (Two PCB ACU representatives will also monitor the league.)
8) The PCB has adopted a policy of friendly relations with other cricket Boards, and therefore allows its players to feature in different international leagues as a measure of reciprocity. In this regard, earlier this year, Pakistan players participated in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and currently-list players are featuring in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). The players released for T-Ten league will further strengthen the existing relationship with ECB which has been very supportive of Pakistan cricket for a long time.
9) It must be noted that with the gradual return of international cricket to Pakistan the ECB has to develop its own events that can sustain its cricketing infrastructure in the UAE and events like T10 that are in no competition with PSL enable the ECB to plan their future once Pakistan cricket fully returns home.
10) The PCB condemns such allegations and terms it an attack on the integrity of Pakistan’s cricket that is not in the national interest.
Usman Manzoor adds from Islamabad: The very thrust of the story was lack of transparency and PCB’s strange decision to favour a private party. In its rebuttal, the PCB has indirectly conceded this by not mentioning the process through which application was received and evaluated, who was involved in the process including final approval.
Labelling a lack of transparency and due process issue and story as a “media war” and “undermining national interest” is also a defensive posture that exposes PCB. PCB decision was so opaque that it is only through its counter press release we are learning some facts such as PCB to receive just Rs 4 crore ($400,000) for allowing its cricketers to play for a private league, that a franchise owner of PSL is part owner of the new league, an admitted conflict of interest that was overlooked and that Indian owners are actually involved though they are in minority according to PCB.
What due diligence did PCB conduct to ascertain the real ownership and funding of the companies involved? Were Pakistan’s intelligence agencies involved to review the background and funding of these companies and individuals before finalising the deal? How the number of $400,000 was arrived? What competitive market value evaluation process, SOP or policy PCB adopted to arrive at this number? Did the private league owners or ECB proposed this number and was the market explored in any way to determine the value or seek interest of Pakistani owned and Pakistan-based companies?
PCB should share complete details of communication and process and people/committees involved in each stage to support its decision. It should be noted that in PCB’s own 45th BOG minutes of meeting which this reporter has access to, it was agreed not to support any such venture which does not favour PSL or PCB, indicating that PCB was aware that this event may have some support of ECB but it still decided not to support it until it benefits PSL or PCB then why after a PSL franchise obtained stakes in the league, PCB decided to lend support to this league? Will PCB share details of specific observations raised by the stakeholders including the minutes and correspondence of the franchise owners of PSL?
This correspondent would like to state that I tried to get PCB point of view multiple times via SMS and phone calls on multiple numbers. PCB press release at least finally gives some light to an otherwise non transparent and opaque deal.
PCB claims it has contributed players before also to different leagues but this practice is for official leagues owned by the official cricket Boards of the country and not a private league, which is the case this time. The rights of players at the scale PCB has given is unprecedented and especially to a private league and thus the asset belonging to Pakistan has been given without due process and without assigning a market value which could have been done through exploring and soliciting other offers in a transparent bidding process.

Nasty media wars undermine PCB, national interest: PCB

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday issued a press release in response to a story published in The News. The PCB is shocked by the irresponsible and false reporting in The News today titled “PCB allows top Pak cricketers to play in dubious Indian-owned league”. It seems competing media interests are dragging PCB into a nasty situation against national interest.
The facts are contrary to the news on the T-10 league which is set to take place in Sharjah from December 14 to 19, 2017.
1) The ICC has not disapproved the league. In fact, it has lent the support of its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) to it to ensure it is free of such problems, the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Cricket Boards are fully supporting it with one team each of their players.
2) The PCB has taken a fee of US $400,000 from the league to allow only ten of its centrally contracted players to participate in it. This money is being spent on game development in the country.
3) 80% of the shares of the company that owns the league are held by Pakistanis, the owners are meanwhile Muslims. The one Indian minority shareholder is also a Muslim.
4) The PCB BoG has agreed to support the league following a firm request from the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) that is a PCB partner in critical ways by hosting PSL and PCB bilateral cricket series. The apprehensions of two PSL franchises were resolved in a meeting on the subject earlier and there is no conflict of interest or competition between a 10 over league spread over four days only in one venue and PSL spread over 34 matches and six weeks in four venues.
5) Players from six top cricketing national Boards like England, West Indies, South Africa, etc have got NOCs to play in this league. These include Eoin Morgan, Shakib ul Hassan, Carlos Braithwaite, Dinesh Chandimal, Darren Sammy, etc. In fact, many current players from across the globe are featuring in the league which shows the PCB has released players in a competitive event.
6) One PSL franchise owner has a financial stake in the league and believes that this supplements its bigger interest in the PSL instead of undermining it.
7) It should also be noted that Anti-Corruption Laws of ICC will be applicable. This means there will be an Anti-Corruption Unit set up for the event like in any international event or league to keep an eye on players, and keep the game free of corruption (Two PCB ACU representatives will also monitor the league.)
8) The PCB has adopted a policy of friendly relations with other cricket Boards, and therefore allows its players to feature in different international leagues as a measure of reciprocity. In this regard, earlier this year, Pakistan players participated in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and currently-list players are featuring in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). The players released for T-Ten league will further strengthen the existing relationship with ECB which has been very supportive of Pakistan cricket for a long time.
9) It must be noted that with the gradual return of international cricket to Pakistan the ECB has to develop its own events that can sustain its cricketing infrastructure in the UAE and events like T10 that are in no competition with PSL enable the ECB to plan their future once Pakistan cricket fully returns home.
10) The PCB condemns such allegations and terms it an attack on the integrity of Pakistan’s cricket that is not in the national interest.
Usman Manzoor adds from Islamabad: The very thrust of the story was lack of transparency and PCB’s strange decision to favour a private party. In its rebuttal, the PCB has indirectly conceded this by not mentioning the process through which application was received and evaluated, who was involved in the process including final approval.
Labelling a lack of transparency and due process issue and story as a “media war” and “undermining national interest” is also a defensive posture that exposes PCB. PCB decision was so opaque that it is only through its counter press release we are learning some facts such as PCB to receive just Rs 4 crore ($400,000) for allowing its cricketers to play for a private league, that a franchise owner of PSL is part owner of the new league, an admitted conflict of interest that was overlooked and that Indian owners are actually involved though they are in minority according to PCB.
What due diligence did PCB conduct to ascertain the real ownership and funding of the companies involved? Were Pakistan’s intelligence agencies involved to review the background and funding of these companies and individuals before finalising the deal? How the number of $400,000 was arrived? What competitive market value evaluation process, SOP or policy PCB adopted to arrive at this number? Did the private league owners or ECB proposed this number and was the market explored in any way to determine the value or seek interest of Pakistani owned and Pakistan-based companies?
PCB should share complete details of communication and process and people/committees involved in each stage to support its decision. It should be noted that in PCB’s own 45th BOG minutes of meeting which this reporter has access to, it was agreed not to support any such venture which does not favour PSL or PCB, indicating that PCB was aware that this event may have some support of ECB but it still decided not to support it until it benefits PSL or PCB then why after a PSL franchise obtained stakes in the league, PCB decided to lend support to this league? Will PCB share details of specific observations raised by the stakeholders including the minutes and correspondence of the franchise owners of PSL?
This correspondent would like to state that I tried to get PCB point of view multiple times via SMS and phone calls on multiple numbers. PCB press release at least finally gives some light to an otherwise non transparent and opaque deal.
PCB claims it has contributed players before also to different leagues but this practice is for official leagues owned by the official cricket Boards of the country and not a private league, which is the case this time. The rights of players at the scale PCB has given is unprecedented and especially to a private league and thus the asset belonging to Pakistan has been given without due process and without assigning a market value which could have been done through exploring and soliciting other offers in a transparent bidding process.

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