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Home » Sport » Football

Football axed on political grounds

Faisal Saleh Hayat, President Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), said on Saturday that the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has excluded football from the forthcoming National Games on political grounds.

Addressing a hurriedly-called news conference here, the PFF president said the federation had to prepare national team for Olympic qualifiers, besides arranging their tours to countries like Korea and Thailand next year. And therefore, he underlined, football`s inclusion in the National Games could have given the players a significant opportunity to hone their skills.

“despite being one of the major sports in the country, the POA and the organisers ignored football for nothing but political reasons,” Faisal remarked.

“Almost 60,000 footballers are registered with us while one million are unregistered and that speaks volumes about the game`s popularity in the country, which is being neglected by the POA,” he added.

The multi-sport national gala is scheduled to be held in different cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Dec 25 to 31. The Games have been deferred thrice so far, mainly because of security reasons.

Faisal claimed he had talked to POA President Gen Syed Arif Hasan over the issue, adding the Olympic association`s chief had assured him his full support for football`s inclusion in the Games at the POA Executive Committee meeting held in Lahore on Friday. But, Faisal added, the promised support did not materialise at the meeting.

The POA Committee on Friday included hockey and wushu due to their fine show in the recently held Guangzhou Asian Games. While the hockey squad brought back gold medal after two decades, wushu earned a silver. “We are happy over hockey`s inclusion in the national gala, but football is no less popular, so it shouldhave been included,” Faisal insisted.

He warned that the PFF would hold countrywide protests against the decision to ignore football, adding the federation could also consider seeking legal route in this regard.

Earlier, the POA and the Federal Sports Ministry had also rejected the PFF request to send the national team to the Asiad held last month.


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