Pakistan’s two-time world amateur snooker champion Muhammad Asif led a group of players in wearing black armbands during the ongoing national championship to register their protest over “step-motherly” treatment by the sports authorities and government.
Asif, who last November won the world title in Turkey for the second time in his career, has also threatened to leave the game if he was not given his due.
“I am fed up with people and the media asking me all the time ‘have you got your prize money/reward amount’ and saying no to them,” he said.
“I have decided that if this matter is not resolved soon I will retire from competitive snooker and concentrate on doing some other work to earn a proper livelihood,” Asif told reporters at the Karachi Gymkhana.
As part of a silent protest, all the players competing in the National Snooker Championship wore black armbands to show solidarity with Asif and express their anguish over the way cueists are being ignored by sports authorities.
Asif said he was only asking for what was due to him under the sports policy of the government.
“I am not begging anyone for money. The government itself has a policy of giving a cash award of 10 million rupees for winning a world title in any sports and five million for winning any title at the Asian level.
“I won the world title last November but still await my cash prize. The Pakistan Sports Board now owes me around 30 million rupees for all the world, international and Asian titles I have won for Pakistan in individual and team competitions,” Asif added.
The head of the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association, Alamgir Sheikh, said he was with the players as the government is not appreciating their feats by delaying or not giving them promised cash awards.