Pakistan cricket has been entangled into an unnecessary controversy amid an irresponsible and unethical media report which published a week ago in a national newspaper alleging PCB that it concluded an agreement with a UK based firm to make PSL-2020 matches available for betting internationally.
The report was nothing but simply a bizarre attempt of point scoring. The journalist who had filed the news also sought PCB version but twisted it in the text which was highly shameful and unethical. The design was to authenticate his one-sided report and malign the Board.
To fuel further the same newspaper published a statement of Rashid Latif in which he demanded of the government for action against PCB for allowing Online betting during the suspended PSL. Being a seasoned former Test cricketer Rashid should have read PCB version before dragging the controversy further.
It was a bizarre attempt to blackmail an institution, which is the custodian of Pakistan cricket and has demonstrated its firm resolution to enforce Zero Tolerance Policy against corruption in the Game of Gentleman.
The PCB sensed the gravity of the situation and chose National Day to once again clarify its position hoping that sanity would prevail upon a desperate and unbridled sports journalist from the port city. The fresh press release says: “The Pakistan Cricket Board categorically denies and rejects the assertion that it entered into, or allowed any of its commercial partners to enter into, any contract or agreement for betting rights with any entity whatsoever”. It further clarifies: “The facts are HBL PSL’s live-streaming rights outside Pakistan were granted pursuant to an international tender to an international company for three HBL PSL editions from 2019 to 2021.
The global media rights partner, without following the due approval process, awarded the live-streaming rights to a betting company. As soon as the matter came to the PCB’s notice, it immediately took it up with the media rights partner and correspondence in this regard is ongoing. The press release also adds: “When a newspaper approached the PCB for comment last week, the PCB presented the facts which were, however, not reported accurately.”
The PCB press release explicitly asserts that Board has not awarded any contract to the betting firm, a fact which should have been understood and accepted. But the journalist is adamant. The newspaper carried PCB clarification in its today’s edition (24-03-2020). Read the headline: “Media Partners sold PSL streaming rights to the betting firm”. But the news starts with: “The PCB has acknowledged that it sold PSL streaming rights to a betting firm for a period of three years”. The height of hypocrisy! The PCB should rescind its agreement with its media rights partner who violated the agreed rules/code.
It is unfortunate that national spirit has been speedily receding in our attitude and behavior. Personal interests have overpowered rich traditions of tolerance, understanding and nationalism. Point scoring has become our characteristic. Few do compromise for personal gains. The controversial journalist also compromised healthy norms of journalism just to settle his personal grudge against PCB. Such unscrupulous elements are found in every section of the society and media is not an exception.
Some individuals in sports journalism consider themselves Aristotle and Socrates of Pakistan cricket and have become its self-appointed stakeholders. All they report what they have been fed by those whose mission is to bring Pakistan cricket into disrepute. They should now rise above from petty personal interests and show maturity in their professional reporting. They must realize that their bias attitude is tantamount to damage Pakistan cricket.
The present PCB management has restored Pakistan’s bruised image through successfully bringing international cricket back in Pakistan in a short span of time! We must not spoil it.