ISLAMABAD-Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has refused to grant NOC to Pakistan Chess Federation (PCF) for its 15-member contingent, which wanted to participate in the 42nd World Chess Championship starting in Baku, Azerbaijan from September 1.

The sources in the PSB have confirmed to this scribe that PCF secretary M Wasif has written a letter to IPC secretary Raja Nadir Ali seeking NOC for participation in the world event. “The IPC secretary forwarded the letter to PSB acting director general Syed Habib Shah for further comments and Habid, in reply, informed him that Peshawar and Karachi based chess federation people had sought NOC, which was illegal and they were not affiliated with the PSB or the IPC.”

The sources informed that the PSB had also sought help from FIA, Interior Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry to ensure the chess players and officials must be stopped from participation in the event. “The PSB has urged the Interior Ministry and FIA to take every step to ensure illegal players and officials must be stopped. The 15-member squash include PCF president Abdul Saleem as delegate, secretary M Wasif, head of delegation, national male team members including Abdul Aziz, Waqar Ahmed, Sammar Hussain, Mehmood Ahmed, Murtaza Ali, Wahid Hussain, Syed Ahmed Ali, M Salman Farooqui, female team including Begum Ghazala, Saira Raffiq, Zanobia Wasif, Namiktan Nabi and Mehak Gul.”

When contacted, PSB acting DG Habib Shah confirmed that the chess team was illegal. “The PSB has not sanctioned NOC to the federation and taking the best possible steps to ensure they must not travel. The IPC secretary has given written assurance to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the PCF must not be allowed to send team for any international event without prior approval of relevant departments.”