LAHORE              -          The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that after the payment process was completed on Monday, 161 key stakeholders of Pakistan cricket benefited from the PCB’s one-off welfare initiative.

The initiative was launched last month to provide financial relief to first-class cricketers, match referees, scorers and grounds staff facing hardships due to an abrupt halt on cricket activities following the COVID-19 outbreak. This had resulted in the loss of additional income opportunities for these stakeholders during Ramazan after the government announced suspension of all sport activities and events during to the pandemic.

The beneficiaries from the PCB’s scheme belong to 51 cities, including far-flung areas such as Chaghai, Dadu, Dera Murad Jamali, Hub, Layyah, Mardan, Thatta and Turbat. The PCB has provided support to 93 grounds staff, 31 scorers, 21 match officials and 16 first-class cricketers through the scheme under the following criteria: First-class cricketers, who featured in the 2018-19 season and have played at least 15 first-class matches in the past five seasons from 2014-15 to 2018-19.

Match officials and scorers who have officiated in PCB-organised events over the past two seasons. Grounds staff that had been employed by the now defunct regional/district cricket associations before 1 Jan 2013 and those falling in the aforementioned categories should have been unemployed.  Consequently, first-class cricketers, meeting above criteria, received Rs 25,000 each, followed by the match officials Rs 15,000 and the scorers and ground staff Rs 10,000 each.

PCB CEO Wasim Khan said: “Most of the people, who have benefited from this initiative, are the ones who were previously associated with the cricket board and as a responsible organization, we strongly believe that it was binding on us to provide whatever assistance we could.”

Expressing his satisfaction, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “It was important for PCB to continue to lead through its actions at this difficult time. Most of the people who have benefitted from this initiative are the ones who were previously associated with the cricket board and as a responsible organisation we strongly believe that it was binding on us to provide whatever assistance we could.

“While these payments may be a token of support, we have attempted to reach as many as possible to minimise the financial blow in these difficult and unprecedented times,” he added.

Earlier, the PCB contributed over PKR10million in collaboration with the centrally contracted cricketers and staff in Prime Minister’s Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Fund. The board also offered to turn the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre in Karachi into a sanctuary for the paramedic staff on duty in the makeshift hospital at Expo Centre. Separately, PCB Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer made contributions to Chairman’s Welfare Fund late last week.