The terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan shocked the global sports community.
Football’s governing body FIFA called a special
‘crisis evaluation committee’ meeting with the South African 2010 organizers to
upgrade or further beef up the security plans for the world’s biggest sporting
Safety measures for the 2010 World Cup will be reviewed again and again to
make the venues hotels and cities more secure. Football has the greatest global
appeal among all sports and therefore is the most probable target of terrorists.
sports become ever more popular, it is natural that terrorists – in whatever
shape and form -- would look to use that global interest. The tragedy of Munich
Olympics in 1972 showed what kind of global platform terrorists could have to
disseminate their power and demands.
times, security obviously comes at the top of the list of priorities
when any sporting event is planned. However, it is also a fact that countries where the law
and order situation is fragile are more prone to terrorist attacks.
subcontinent has been facing problems of militancy and terrorism for more than a
decade. However, the situation now is more alarming than ever before.
sports community of the developed world has lately come to realize that the
perpetrators of terrorism have no boundaries.
not only nameless and faceless, but stateless too. They don’t want themselves to
be confined to one particular region as the main objective before them is to
terrorize people as much as possible.
Therefore games and sports, particularly
those with global appeal, are obvious terrorist targets, as such attacks
will earn them maximum attention.
moment, sporting activities are heavily destabilized in the subcontinent
region. Within hours of the attack in Pakistan, the Bangladesh Cricket
Association postponed a home series against Pakistan. The fate of the
highly-publicized cricket competition, the Indian Premier League, is also
undecided. Whatever happens, it’s a fact that sports fans will suffer more and
more if nothing is done to ensure the safety of sports activities in the region.
As far as
football is concerned in Pakistan, the situation is even worse. I have previously
written about how religious militancy and ethnic parochialism has affected the
game in the country.
Football used to be forbidden in some areas because of the
‘irreligious’ dress code of the game. In extreme cases, footballers have been tortured in the past and have died in terrorist
attacks and in routine gang wars in Karachi.
another irony that as football is the game of poor masses in Pakistan, the
teams and players are given the lowest priority in terms of security. Bartalan
Bisciki, the noted Hungarian football coach, was selected last month by the
Pakistan football association to coach the national team, but he refused to take
up the job. He cited security fear in the country.
football events in the country are also suffering. Last week a Punjabi-based
football club refused to play the semi-final of the PFF Club League in the
war-affected province of Baluchistan. During the Pakistan Premier League, Pakistan Army FC's match at Afghan FC was also shifted
from Baluchistan, which deprived the Afghans of their home advantage.
These are tough times for Pakistan football. People must all be vigilant for the sake of the game they love.