Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has assured of full support to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi, who reached out to the premier amid deadlock with the provincial government over holding Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 8 matches in Rawalpindi and Lahore.
Sethi had looped in the premier, who is also the PCB’s patron-in-chief — on the matter and told him that the sports board was not going to pay the additional cost for security arrangements after the provincial government backed off from taking care of it.
The fate of PSL fixtures in the two Punjab cities — including the final scheduled to take place in Lahore on March 19 — hangs in balance, as Punjab’s interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi had told reporters in Lahore that the Punjab government had spent Rs600 million on the PSL last year, adding “his cabinet is not ready to sanction the expenses” this time due to being an interim setup.
Briefing PM Shehbaz regarding the deadlock, Sethi said that if the Punjab government doesn’t withdraw the demand, the PCB will be forced to shift matches to Karachi. He said that the PSL is a national tournament and the national institutions are responsible for its arrangements.
Sources said that PM Shehbaz assured the PCB chief of complete support and assistance.
On Saturday, the PCB Management Committee and the franchises discussed the matter. Sources told The News that “it was agreed that the Rs450 million in terms of security and other expenses would not be paid to the Punjab government.”
PCB’s stance is if the Punjab government keeps asking the board for paying the said amount then it will shift the Lahore and Pindi matches to Karachi, the sources added.
The sources also said that this will save money both for the PCB and the six franchises of the PSL 2023.
The financial capital Karachi has so far hosted eight PSL 2023 matches out of its share of nine with the last game between Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings, currently happening in the port city.
The PCB has already paid the outstanding amount of Rs50 million to the Punjab government, a deal which the board had brokered with the previous government for holding the PSL 2023 matches in Punjab. However, last month a caretaker government took charge under the leadership of Mohsin Naqvi.
According to sources, the Sindh government is not demanding any extra money from the PCB and it would benefit the stakeholders if Pindi and Lahore matches are shifted to Karachi.
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