Almost all regional grounds are not up to the required standard to stage PCB-organised matches
KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Domestic Cricket Operations Department has recently conducted a study of grounds, which were supported by the board in different capacities, were either not fit to host any level of cricket matches or not up to the required standard to stage PCB-organised matches except few.
According to a study, nearly half of the 63 regional grounds were not fit to host any level of cricket matches, while barring a few, the remaining 36 grounds were also not up to the required standard to stage PCB-organised matches.
Over the past five years, the PCB had provided funding of over Rs317million to the 16 regions to manage these 63 grounds in terms of equipment, repairs and administrative expenses.
Meanwhile, a source in the board thinks 40% to 50% must have been embezzled by the people. The source added that the board officials kept a blind eye in order to lure votes from the regions.
The study revealed that the state and condition of the 63 grounds which were either developed or facilitated by PCB, has revealed staggering mismanagement and misuse of valuable funds, resulting in the current deplorable conditions of the grounds.
The audit exercise has further revealed 27 grounds were not fit to host any level of cricket matches, while barring a few, the remaining 36 grounds are also not up to the required standard to stage PCB-organised matches.
Similarly, at a number of grounds, matches have not been held in the last few years, while the investigations have also unearthed cases of ghost employees.
The board in media release has also shared the break-up of the total expenses it incurred on grounds. The board has spent Rs 34,780,911 on office staff from 2014 to 2019; Rs 221,546,514 on ground staff from 2014 to 2019; Rs36,264,019 on equipment and maintenance from 2015 to 2019; Rs24,760,076 on office running expenses from 2015 to 2019.
The board has now dissolved the 16 regions and according to the promulgation of the new PCB Constitution on August 19, 2019, the PCB has decided it will no longer provide financial support for ground-related expenses.
The PCB has also decided these grounds will be handed over to the six Cricket Associations, who will be required to develop, maintain, manage and use them as ‘home’ venues in their respective jurisdictions.
In the meantime, the PCB advises all cricket ground owners (or those having legal rights in relation thereto) to approach the PCB directly for any assistance in terms of providing support through the provision of relevant equipment and/or grants for engaging ground staff.
The board had awarded two-month contracts to curators who were previously employed by the 16 regions until August 19, 2019 for a smooth transition.
According to PCB, through an extension to that arrangement the board has decided that it will make an additional two-month ex-gratia payment to these curators i.e. until December 19, 2019 following which the ground owners themselves will make a decision pertaining to their future employment at the respective grounds.
In this relation, the board says it has already contacted most of the curators to inform them of the decision, and their payments are expected to be transferred into their bank accounts very soon.
In 2010, the PCB had decided to pay the curators directly on behalf of the regions after it had received complaints of either delayed or reduced payments.