PCB extends deadline for clubs registration

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LAHORE: Poor response from clubs across the country has forced the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to extend the deadline for clubs’ registration till April 8.

Though the PCB in a press release on Monday stated that the response from the clubs is encouraging as 1362 have applied for registration with two days still remaining before the deadline ends on March 24, the deadline was extended to April 8.

On comparing the figure of 1362 just with the number of clubs that featured in the last Fazal Mahmood Cup organised by the PCB in 2018, it was found to be 3,147 with 2,182 active clubs and 965 non-active. It means more than 59 per cent of the clubs which had participated in the Fazal Mahmood Cup are yet to apply for the registration.

A former PCB official on the condition of anonymity told Dawn that half of the clubs in the 2018 Fazal Mahmood Cup were found to be bogus. Though they featured in the event, they had no net practice system in place.

The ex-official added that the bogus clubs had been identified and a list in this regard was available with the PCB. It may be mentioned here that PCB’s incumbent general manager domestic Junaid Zia was also involved in organising the 2018 Fazal Mahmood Cup.

“Junaid Zia must be knowing the list of those clubs identified as bogus. I fear if the clubs are not strictly scrutinised before they are endorsed, the majority of these [bogus] clubs will be registered and they will even prevail over genuine clubs in the city associations’ affairs,” he said.

Meanwhile, the heavy fees fixed by the PCB for the registration of clubs and for their elections, plus a number of unnatural conditions for them like having a National Tax Number (NTN), bank account and only online system for applying for the registration may be the reasons behind the poor response from clubs.

It may be mentioned here that the PCB due to its inappropriate policies kept the club cricket and district/city cricket suspended for two years and now it decided to open the registration for clubs.

Several officials running club cricket have raised their voices against the procedure of club registration. Almost one more year needs to complete the elections of the city cricket associations which means the entire three-year tenure of incumbent PCB headed by Ehsan Mani and chief executive Wasim Khan will end without the domestic structure getting functional under the new constitution of the Board.

Moreover, the online mode of the registration may also be creating problems as all the clubs working in far flung areas across Pakistan may not have computer and internet facilities which are available in major cities like Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Faisalabad or Rawalpindi.

The PCB press release issued on Monday also signalled that clubs are facing problems and they needed clarity about the registration process.

“This sizeable number of applications submitted in the past four days is attributed to the PCB officials’ meetings with various club delegations from different parts of the country. In these meetings, the club owners sought clarity and explanation, first on the registration process as well as on some articles of the model constitution,” read the press release.

The release further stated: “Since the start of the two-week online registration process on March 10, the PCB has received over 1,362 applications, which are presently being reviewed by the PCB. In the next phase of the registration process, the successful club presidents will receive another online link on their registered email address through which they will be able to submit further information relating to membership and players categories.

“The decision to extend the deadline has been taken following requests from a large number of club owners, who are in the process of completing their requirements, as well as on the basis that in the past four days 862 applications have been received online,” added the PCB release.