Is PCB's sale of its media rights transparent? (Daily Times (Pakistan))

Pakistan is always in the news for all the wrong reasons. And Pakistan cricket is no exception. Messages on social media are circulating that the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) sale of its media rights will not be transparent. Social media is flaying former PCB chairman Najam Sethi for his role in the selling of PCB media rights. Tweets on Thursday said: “Save Pakistan from being robbed of billions by Sethi. Tomorrow (Feb 27) Najam Sethi under PCB seems to be in rush to close billions worth cricket advertising rights at Pearl Continental Hotel Lahore. Bidders have reached Lahore and tomorrow is the last date of submission of technical bids. There are few billions in commission for Sethi. As there is tons of allegations in the print and electronic media on Sethi making $4.6 million in the India and W Indies matches that Pak lost. This bidders meeting must be postponed till a credible replacement for Sethi is found. One of Sethi’s favourite bidders will be privately dining with him tonight. Sethi should be immediately placed on exit control list, arrested and investigated.”
It is pertinent to mention that in 2013 there was a lot of hue and cry when the PCB, under Sethi, sold its media rights. The parties who took part in the bidding process included a private TV sports channel of Pakistan and Ten Sports of Dubai. Pakistan Television (PTV) did not bid while the private sports channel had obtained the rights. There was no surprise that the private sports channel was given the rights of the two series without following the rules and laid down procedure. It was an open secret that Sethi was an employee of a private network whose part was that sports channel.
It is pertinent to mention here that the PCB decided to sell broadcasting rights of the two series as a separate venture instead of entering into a longterm four or fiveyear deal with a broadcaster for Pakistan cricket rights. Pakistan has been hit hard by the suspension of international cricket on their home grounds over the past four years in addition to India’s reluctance to play a full series matches which guarantee big cash returns. Pakistan has not hosted any international series since militant attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, forcing them to play on neutral venues, mostly in the UAE, resulting in low earnings.
People of this ‘land of the pure’ are bewildered why these unpleasant incidents and extreme situations kept on recurring and why controversies simply refused to spare Pakistan cricket. Perhaps they still not have realised by now that both in the national sphere and the sporting arena the root of our dilemma is the notorious system of patronage and imposed cronies, to the exclusion of merit and professionalism. Under the powerful patron’s benevolent gaze, the pick and choose appointees can survive scandals and failures that would crush an ordinary mortal.