PCB’s financial woes crush Islamabad cricket stadium dream

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The federal capital’s dream to have a cricket stadium facility of international standards falls in doldrums as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has abandoned the construction work on the project citing financial crunch as reason.

According to a PCB official, the fate of the project hangs in balance. “Financial constraint is one of the reasons that the project is no more a matter of concern for the people at the helm of affairs. It is not clear whether the stadium will now be built or not.”

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the PCB signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2012 under which the CDA had allotted 35 acres of land near Shakarparian for the construction of stadium.

Both bodies had signed the MoU, in the presence of then PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf, CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal and chairman of the prime minister’s task force for Islamabad, Faisal Sakhi Butt.

According to the agreement, CDA was supposed receive a revenue share of 30 per cent from every national and international match, while the remaining 70 per cent will go to the PCB.

When contacted, a CDA official said that the civic authority on its part had allotted the land and now it was the responsibility of the PCB to construct the stadium.

Currently, Islamabad lacks the facility of a cricket stadium of international standard. The construction of the stadium had raised the hopes among cricket lovers, which have now been dashed.

The PCB official told APP that there was great talent in the twin cities, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, but no academy was established to nourish the budding cricketers.

There was a plan to set up an academy with the stadium, which seemed to have gone into oblivion, he added.

It may be mentioned that the CDA had allotted 40 acre land in 2008 to the PCB near Shakarparian for the construction of a stadium when Nasim Ashraf was the board’s chairman.

However, the project was shelved when Ejaz Butt took over PCB.

Currently, there are no PCB-owned cricket stadiums or academies in the capital.

The PCB had decided to build its own stadium in the capital after the one situated in the adjacent city of Rawalpindi is under the government of Punjab.

Although the PCB has made a huge investment on the Pindi Stadium in the past, it still has no administrative control of the venue and also pays fees to hold games of the domestic calendar at the ground.

To avoid that situation, the PCB decided to build a stadium in Islamabad for which the federal government had allocated a land of 35 acres last year during the tenure of then-PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf.