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Criminalisation of corruption in sports faces delay

Bill was presented in the National Assembly more than a year ago

Criminalisation of corruption in sports faces delay PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

There has been little or no progress over criminalisation of corruption in sports despite a bill being passed in the National Assembly, over a year ago.

The bill was presented by Member National Assembly Iqbal Mohammad Ali, meanwhile the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had also forwarded its recommendations, regarding eradication of corruption in sports, to the country’s Primer Minister and the organisation’s Patron-in-Chief, Imran Khan.

A 77-page document, titled ‘Legislation on the prevention of corruption in sports’, was drafted to provide a comprehensive guide about PCB’s Anti-Corruption code while also detailing important aspects of a recent bill passed by the Sri Lankan Parliament — which criminalised several offences related to match-fixing among other things.

The recommendations are an attempt to root out the corruption and match-fixing scandals that have plagued the national team in the past couple of decades.

A special unit will be setup, which will investigate claims related to corruption according to the criminal act. Offences related to corruption in sports will carry a prison term of up to 10 years or a fine of Rs.100 million or both together.

It is also proposed to punish curators, umpires and match officials who deliberately misuse their authority for financial or other gains.

Similarly, if someone from a sports body is found to be involved in corruption, then that person will either have to serve a jail sentence of three years or pay a fine of Rs.0.2 million or do both.

When Iqbal Mohammad Ali was approached regarding the matter, he stated: “The bill I presented was passed by the assembly. Now the matter rests with the Law and Justice Committee, which will turn this into a criminal act. The change in chairman of the Sports Committee at the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination was one of the reasons behind the delay. Hopefully, we will see progress after Eid holidays.”

 He also opened up about reservations with PCB over the bill.

“The PCB wants that officials involved in corruption should not be handed strict punishments, which is something I’m against,” he said. 

A PCB spokesperson also confirmed that no progress has been made regarding the bill.