Huge fund approved to upgrade venues before ICC Champions Trophy – Sport

LAHORE: A massive fund of Rs12.80 billion was approved to upgrade the Gaddafi Stadium, National Stadium and Pindi Cricket Stadium, while the domestic game received a significant increase of 110 per cent, as the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Board of Governors (BoG) approved the 2024-25 budget at a meeting at the National Cricket Academy on Saturday.

Chaired by PCB chief Mohsin Naqvi, the meeting was attended by all nine BoG members alongside some PCB officials.

Interestingly, the details issued by the PCB to the media after the meeting did not mention if the BoG discussed the poor performances of the national men’s and women’s teams in recent competitions.

According to the PCB, the amount of the central contract of national women’s team and domestic players had been increased.

As the central contract for the men’s team was locked last year for three years, there was no increase in their contract payments. However, players will be promoted and demoted on the basis of the evaluation of their performance.

The approval for purchasing a 5.8-kanal plot near the Gaddafi Stadium was completed to build a hotel in the near future for the PCB to accommodate international and domestic teams during their professional activities.

Earlier, the PCB had planned to buy an under-construction building adjacent to the National Cricket Academy but now a plot has been purchased to build the hotel which will be the Board’s own.

Moreover, the construction work at the main entrance of the Gaddafi Stadium has already started. The entire main building was demolished along with two enclosures — Imran Khan and Fazal Mahmood — to raise a new structure with more seating capacity.

The PCB is planning to complete the upgradation of the Gaddafi Stadium before the ICC Champions Trophy which will be held in February-March next year. The event will be staged at three venues — Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi.

Last year, the budget for domestic cricket was around Rs1.80 billion, which has now been increased to Rs4.50 billion.

According to the details, the PCB will look after 12 venues besides providing funds for taking care of around 100 grounds and their officials across the country.

The budget for women’s cricket also got a massive increase — from Rs70 million to Rs240 million.

Meanwhile, members of the BoG were briefed about the preparations being made by the PCB for hosting the ICC Champions Trophy.

Mohsin told the members that the refurbishment and upgradation of the three stadiums would be completed before the Champions Trophy. The PCB chairman claimed that more facilities would be provided to spectators at these venues so they could turn up in big numbers to witness the matches of the prestigious eight-nation event.

Meanwhile, PCB secretary, chief operating officer Salman Naseer and chief financial officer Javed Murtaza briefed the members of the BoG about different main points of the budget.

The members of the BoG, who attended the meeting included Zahid Akhtar Zaman (Chief Secretary Punjab), Sajjad Ali Khokhar, Zafarullah, Tanvir Ahmad, Tariq Sarwar, Dr Anwar Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Ismail Qureshi, Miraj Mahmood and Usama Azhar.

Director domestic cricket Abdullah Khurram Niazi was also present at the meeting.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2024

Leave a Comment