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SportCricket'Mani's comments on visa assurance for Pak players surprising'

‘Mani’s comments on visa assurance for Pak players surprising’

Published: 1st Mar 2021 5:45 pm

New Delhi: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ehsan Mani’s demand for visa assurance for Pakistan players, media and fans for the T20 World Cup to be held in India between October-November has surprised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

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Speaking to ANI, a board official said the comments are ‘immature’ and also pointed that the Indian government has already made its policy clear when it comes to handing visas to players for international sporting events.

“It was surprising to read Ehsan Mani’s comments, especially in the background of the wonderful working relationship that he shares with Sourav Ganguly (BCCI President) at the ICC. He is a gentleman and had in fact been a guide for Sourav during the pandemic along with Shashank (Manohar). One can’t help but think that it is very immature of Mani to give a statement like this,” the official said.

“It is almost as if he is either desperately looking for a way out of his team playing in the tournament or he is grandstanding for some constituency back home. If they want to make it a political issue, it is of course their own wish. They do know that a cricket board of a country has absolutely no locus standi to give any assurance on an issue, which is not in their purview and is firmly in the decision-making sphere of the government,” he added.

“What’s the next logical step? Will the ICC play a UN kind of role? Will Pakistan’s participation in tournaments depend upon an assurance that no acts of terror would originate on their soil?” the official enquired.

“Moreover, the government has already made their position crystal clear on the issue of visas and an informed person would be aware of it. Mani should be making efforts to try and normalise cricket relations between the two countries rather than making efforts to widen the gulf between them,” he asserted.

The issue of visas was laid to rest last year itself when the Indian government had written to the Presidents of the IOA (Indian Olympic Association) and the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

Then Sports Secretary Radhe Shyam Julaniya, in his letter on June 18, 2019, clearly stated that the country of origin of athletes would not be a barrier for them to get visas to come and compete in international sporting events in India. This after a couple of Pakistan shooters were denied visa to compete in the ISSF World Shooting championship in the national capital. The visa issue had led to the IOC reconsidering the decision to hand India international sports events.

Mani on Sunday said the PCB has sent a letter addressed to the International Cricket Council (ICC) in order to get details about the issuance of visas from India for the T20 World Cup.

“India is set to host T20 World Cup in October-November this year. I have told the board that we want written confirmation from India that our fans, journalists, and players will get visas. I have a meeting with ICC and I will raise this point once again,” said Mani.

Mani also said if India fails to provide assurance then the T20 World Cup needs to be shifted somewhere else.

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