1.5 Lakh Tournament Fee : An Open Loot In The Name of Cricket Tournaments in Kashmir

Banner by “The Kashmir Radar”

Cricket in Kashmir is not just played as a game but it is being looked upon as a career. The day, Kashmir’s Pervaiz Rasool made his debut with the Indian cricket team, things started taking positive turns in the valley. With a hope to play on the lush green cricket grounds with millions of people witnessing the match, our young cricketers almost gave up other careers including studies to play the game.

Family support which was earlier negligible started soaring, because even parents started pinning hopes on the fortunes of the game.

To achieve the dream of being a star cricketer at national level, one needs to master the game at the domestic level first, with ‘state cricket boards’ being the main stakeholders in organising tournaments for the cricketers.

Unfortunately, cricket enthusiasts in our valley are bound to play the Un-organised tournaments with the local private organisers because the JKCA (Jammu Kashmir Cricket Association) has always been in question for one reason or the other.

Why playing with private organisers is never a good idea?

Our team at “The Kashmir Radar” received multiple phone calls complaining about one organiser in the valley who has planned to charge 1.50 lakh rupees as the tournament fee for every team that plays the tournament.

To substantiate the claims of the players, we tried to contact the organiser but despite repeated phone calls, he didn’t respond. Which is why we may not be sharing the name of the place or the organisers till we establish contact with them.

After contacting Muzaffar Dar – The only BCCI approved sports journalist from the valley, we found that such menace is rampant in the valley which unfortunately always gets unnoticed.
“Yes, it is a fact that even I was appraised of, by a friend of mine. Such loot is on rise in the valley. We have those non-professional businessmen, who have no knowledge of cricket, organising tournaments every now and then and they are minting money in lakhs.” Said Muzaffar while talking to our correspondent Umran Hussain.

Muzaffar Dar

“Such tournaments go unchecked, there is no provision of any audit and they have nobody to put checks and balances on the money they collect. I have myself witnessed hundreds of local tournaments where organisers charged from 10,000 to 50,000 and surprisingly the winner of the tournament gets only a few bucks.” Said Muzaffar Dar.

As mentioned earlier The JKCA and District Youth Services And Sports Departments are primarily responsible for organising such tournaments on the goverment expenditure, but both the institutions have done nothing substantial to groom the local talent of the valley. Their non-seriousness paved the way for local private organisers to resort to such tactics of loot.

“Had The JKCA and the District Youth Services and Sports Departments shown some seriousness in grooming the talent by organising cricket tournaments, such inappropriate money minting from the poor players would have never crept in. What irks one the most is that even after paying a hefty amount of money, the organisers cleverly play the knockout tournaments, not the leagues. There’s a motivation for them to play the tournaments on knockout basis, lesser the matches, lower the expenditure. And in all this mess cricket becomes the casualty.” Said Muzaffar.

“There has to be a proper modus operandi in place. Even if the local private organisers are given a window to organise tournaments, the entry fee has to be capped. There should be a proper procedure to get the approval to organise the tournaments, if not from the JKCA, at least from the District Youth Services and Sports Departments so that our younger players get a chance to play without paying huge sums of money.” Said Muzaffar Dar.

Barring a few organisers in the valley, we received complaints from all corners regarding the entry fee mess. We received positive reports about “District Cricket Forum Baramulla” which has been organising such tournaments since a long time and the organising committee has done a commendable job so far. As per reports, the General Secretary of the District Cricket Forum Baramulla, Zubar Dar is an example to mention. He has been handy in organising cost effective tournaments and has so far sent various younger players to play outside the valley.

One more example worth mentioning is the “Wullar Premier League” which has witnessed the big guns of the likes of Pervaiz Rasool playing for it. This league too is said to be in the “good books” of cricket enthusiasts.

“There are incidents when the poor cricketers like me had to sell some valuable ornaments to pay the fee for the tournament. Nobody even bothers to care about the spirit of the game. Not only money but the knockout format too ruins the game. We get only one chance, only a day in the field to play the game.” Said Muntazir, a cricket player.

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