Pakistan`s Olympic participation in trouble

Karachi: A power struggle between the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and the government controlled Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) could deprive the country from taking part in the upcoming London Olympics.

There are signs that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) may end up suspending Pakistan`s membership this week.

The IOC has summoned officials of the POA and PSB to its headquarters in Geneva on June 4 to discuss what they see as growing government interference and influence in the affairs of the national sports federations and the national Olympic body.

"I can`t say anything on whether the IOC might suspend our right to take part in the London Olympics but yes it is a grave matter for them," POA President, Arif Hassan said before leaving for the meeting.

The dispute between the POA and PSB has aggravated after the latter said it had the right to look into the constitutions and affairs of national sports federations who it funds annually.

Hassan claimed that while the Olympic charter clearly discourages any interference in the affairs of the NOC and its affiliated units, the PSB has given itself the authority to now amend constitutions of national federations.

"It is clear that the IOC is not happy with what is happening in Pakistan but what they do I hope is in best interest of Pakistan sports," he said.

Pakistan`s only realistic hope of getting a medal in the Olympics is in hockey but Pakistani athletes have got wild card entries into other events and tennis star, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi could also win a Olympic card if he manages to reach the final of the ongoing French Open with his dutch partner in the doubles event.

Arif said that the IOC strongly opposed government interference or influence in affairs of its affiliated national units and hoped it would this time set a deadline for the PSB to back off.