In a surprising move, Pakistan’s caretaker government has intervened in the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) plans to sell media rights for international matches and the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The Cricket Management Committee (CMC) head, Zaka Ashraf, has been compelled to postpone his scheduled visit to Australia and seek a meeting with Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakaar, who also serves as the chief patron of the board.
The government, through the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (sports), issued a directive requiring the PCB and CMC to seek government approval before finalizing any major deals. This directive has effectively curtailed the autonomy of the CMC and PCB, prompting concerns and speculation about the government’s lack of confidence in the committee.
As the CMC began the process of inviting bids for the sale of PSL and international cricket media rights, the government’s notification mandated prior approval for significant decisions by the board. This move has led to the suspension of approvals for several tenders related to the league’s operations, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty within the cricketing community.
Zaka Ashraf, who took over as CMC head in July and received a three-month extension in November, faces challenges in fulfilling the committee’s primary mandate—holding regional associations’ elections and forming a board of governors to elect a new PCB chairman.
The PCB, anticipating significant revenue of around 8-9 billion rupees from the sale of PSL and international media rights for home matches, is now grappling with delays in negotiations. The caretaker government’s intervention has raised concerns about the board’s ability to secure favorable rates for the media rights.
Moreover, the release of the PSL 9 schedule has been stalled, as the PCB asserts that finalizing the schedule is contingent on the successful sale of media rights. The cricketing landscape in Pakistan is now navigating uncharted territory, with stakeholders eagerly awaiting the resolution of this unexpected and impactful government intervention.
In conclusion, the government’s directive has cast a shadow over the PCB’s media rights sale, with implications for the financial outlook of the board and the eagerly awaited PSL 9 schedule.