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PCB outrightly rejects PTI’s allegations

Najam SethiLahore: The PCB has outrightly rejected PTI’s allegations of impropriety in last year’s sale of broadcasting rights to GEO and 10 Sports. The PTI has persistently peddled these allegations without a shred of evidence and as a consequence of its political conflict with GEO.

As PCB has reiterated, the process of award of televisions rights for Pakistan’s two home series last year against South Africa and Sri Lanka was absolutely transparent. It was overseen by a committee headed by Ehsan Mani, the former ICC President and current member of the Board of Governors of Imran Khan’s Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, whose calibre and integrity is beyond reproach globally. The other members of the Committee, especially Rafiq Ahmed Bhugio, a confidante of ex-chairman PCB Zaka Ashraf, too were appointed to keep the whole process exceptionally transparent.

The PCB COO, Subhan Ahmad, has served the PCB faithfully over the last two decades and worked with professionally and without blemish with all chairmen in the past.

Furthermore, during the whole bidding process, the Chairman PCB Najam Sethi was not even in Pakistan and did not in any way influence the process of TV rights sale.

The Committee was headed by Ehsan Mani and included the COO, CFO,  Rafiq Bughio (then BoG Member),  Justice Shabbar Rizvi,  Ahmed Hosain, the Legal Counsel and Independent Audit firm (Ernst & Young) representative. The process and members were no different from those in the past.

The PCB explained that as per the prescribed terms, Geo paid 50% in Advance, while the remaining 50% was paid at the end of the series. GEO also cleared outstanding dues before being allowed to bid.

All procedures and SOP’s were documented well in advance and the Independent Audit Firm also issued a report on the bidding process as well. The total bidding process was conducted at a stretch on two consecutive working days with representatives of both Ten Sports and Geo fighting tooth and nail to win the rights for the respective series. None of the participating bidders raised any objection during the process and in various communications. In their assessment the whole bidding process as fair and transparent.

It has also been alleged by the PTI that PTV was ‘prevented’ from bidding. This is absolutely false. As many as 7 (seven) broadcasters from around the world obtained Bid documents from PCB for the two series. PTV was also among them. At the end, only two broadcasters came up with actual bids submission and PCB followed the laid down procedure by transparently negotiating with both of them to obtain maximum value for itself. The fact is that this was not the first time the PTV had abstained from bidding, preferring to ‘buy’ the rights on the cheap by negotiating with the top bidder through its monopoly as the ‘terrestrial’ channel.

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