As many as 161 key stakeholders of Pakistan cricket benefitted from the Pakistan Cricket Boards one-off welfare initiative, the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed after the payment process was completed on Monday. <p></p> <p></p>The initiative was launched last month to provide financial relief to first-class cricketers, match referees, scorers and grounds staff facing hardships due to an abrupt halt on cricket activities following the Covid-19 outbreak. <p></p> <p></p>This had resulted in the loss of additional income opportunities for these stakeholders during Ramadan after the government announced suspension of all sport activities and events during to the pandemic. <p></p> <p></p>The beneficiaries from the PCB's scheme hail from 51 cities, including far-flung areas such as Chaghi, Dadu, Dera Murad Jamali, Hub, Layyah, Mardan, Thatta and Turbat. <p></p> <p></p>The PCB has provided support to 93 grounds staff, 31 scorers, 21 match officials and 16 first-class cricketers through the scheme under the following criteria: <p></p> <p></p>First-class cricketers who featured in the 2018-19 season and have played at least 15 first-class matches in the past five seasons from 2014-15 to 2018-19. <p></p> <p></p>Match officials and scorers who have officiated in PCB-organised events over the past two seasons. <p></p> <p></p>Grounds staff that had been employed by the now defunct regional/district cricket associations before 1 January 2013 (should have approximately eight years of service). <p></p> <p></p>*Those falling in the aforementioned categories should have been unemployed. <p></p> <p></p>Consequently, first-class cricketers, meeting the above criteria, received PKR25,000 each, followed by the match officials PKR15,000 and, the scorers and ground staff PKR10,000 each. <p></p> <p></p>Expressing his satisfaction, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: "It was important for PCB to continue to lead through its actions at this difficult time". <p></p> <p></p>"Most of the people who have benefitted from this initiative are the ones who were previously associated with the cricket board and as a responsible organisation we strongly believe that it was binding on us to provide whatever assistance we could. <p></p> <p></p>"While these payments may be a token of support, we have attempted to reach as many as possible to minimise the financial blow in these difficult and unprecedented times." <p></p> <p></p>Earlier, the PCB contributed over PKR10million in collaboration with the centrally contracted cricketers and staff in Prime Minister's Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Fund. The board also offered to turn the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre in Karachi into a sanctuary for the paramedic staff on duty in the makeshift hospital at Expo Centre. <p></p> <p></p>Separately, PCB Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer made contributions to Chairman's Welfare Fund late last week.