Pakistan cricket chief: ‘Unfortunate that politics and sports are mixing’

“You have seen how the IOC has reacted ( on ISSF World Cup 2019 in New Delhi) to this as far as shooters are concerned. I guess it is important that we learn to keep sports and politics separate,” PCB chief Ehsan Mani said.

Ehsan Mani insisted that the Pakistan Cricket Board had so far not ‘heard’ anything either from the ICC or the Indian Board.   -  AP

 

Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ehsan Mani has dubbed the Committee of Administrators’ decision to approach the ICC for measures against ‘nations backing terror’ as ‘unfortunate’. In his first reaction following the reports of CoA’s move, Mani told Sportstar: “It is unfortunate that politics and cricket are mixing. It is never good for any sport.”

Referring to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendation to not let India host any international events — after the Pakistani shooters were not granted visas for the shooting World Cup in New Delhi — Mani said: “You have seen how the IOC has reacted to this as far as shooters are concerned. I guess it is important that we learn to keep sports and politics separate.”

“Let’s paraphrase what Mr Nelson Mandela had once said, ‘the voice (of sports) is far reaching than any politician’. Sports has its own role to play. Politics has its own issues. The two should not mix,” Mani, who has been a former ICC chief, said.

Mani also insisted that the PCB had so far not ‘heard’ anything either from the ICC or the Indian Board. “Why should we receive a letter? Of course, we haven’t received any letter,” Mani said.

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“I will not comment anything on that. Let the BCCI or the ICC decide anything, then only we can discuss about our plan of action.”

The CoA chief Vinod Rai, after a meeting on Friday, said it will consult with the government and abide by its decision on the India-Pakistan match at the ICC World Cup 2019.

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What will Pakistan’s move be ahead of the World Cup? “It is not the right time to comment on that. We will see how things go and then decide,” the seasoned administrator said.

Earlier in the day, Rai told mediapersons that the board will draft a letter to ICC asking the cricketing community to sever ties with “nations from where terror emanates”.

But does the ICC rule allow any board to take such a move? Mani, a former ICC chief, declined to comment.

“You have to talk to the ICC about that. I won’t comment on what Mr Rai has said. We will discuss our plan of action if we hear anything from the ICC. As of now, there has been no communication.”

There has been a call to boycott the June 16 World Cup face-off against Pakistan at the Old Trafford in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.