Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Deputy Director-General (Admin) Mansoor Ahmed Khan urged the business community to contribute towards promoting various sports activities in the country.

During a meeting with the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce (ICCI), Khan highlighted that Pakistan has tremendous talent for excelling in all fields of sports, but lack of financial resources was a major barrier in harnessing the talent of youth in the sports field.

He said sports activities were instrumental in strengthening national unity.

“Sportsmen are the ambassadors who promote the image of Pakistan and cooperation of the business community in organising various sports events would help attract foreign investment.”

Giving a comparison of annual sports budget of regional countries, the deputy director-general said India allocated $382.21 million, Iran $80 million, Bangladesh $70.78 million, Nepal $33.69 million, Sri Lanka $22.59 million, however, Pakistan allocated annual sports budget worth $6.09 million, which showed that sports was a low priority for the country.

He identified lack of coordination among various sports stakeholders, lack of qualified coaches, incentives to the players and coaches, financial resources, job opportunities for players and coaches, neglect of rural areas for sports, lack of sports facilities in educational institutions and local level, lack of a system for grooming players on modern scientific lines and sports academies in the country as major hurdles for promoting sports activities in the country.

He emphasised that the business community has the financial strength and their cooperation was important in promoting all sorts of sports in the country.

Khan assured that Pakistan Sports Board would fully cooperate with ICCI in promoting various sports in the region.

Speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said the global sports industry was valued at over $500 billion and sports has emerged as an important component of socio-economic development, therefore, the government should accord greater focus to promoting sports for achieving beneficial results for the economy.

He said that progress of many other industries was linked with sports, therefore, promotion of sports would boost their growth.