Setback for PFF as PPFL sponsor backs out

By Shazia Hasan [Dawn]
Sunday, 26 Sep, 2010

KARACHI: KASB Bank, the sponsor for the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL), has reportedly backed out of its five-year contract which it had entered into with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) last year.

According to sources, the bank informed the PFF about its decision through a letter where, apologising for taking the step, it has pointed out that it was left with no other choice.

The move has not left many surprised. Rumours regarding the breakup had already been floating in football circles even before this year’s league kicked off.

It was being said that the sponsor was unhappy over not being given a say in any aspect of the event. The PFF, according to sources, had not had any interaction with it after the conclusion of the previous edition of the grand league and its efforts in making its grievances known to the PFF also fell on deaf ears.

It is said that despite being the sponsor, it didn’t even have much of a role to play in the recently-concluded Super League.

Adding to that, the sponsor was conspicuously absent at the PFF’s last congress meeting when the federation announced the teams to feature in the current league. It is said that it was not taken into confidence at any stage of approving the teams which proved to be “the last straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Meanwhile, KASB’s backing out of its contract has greatly disappointed PFF President Faisal Saleh Hayat. “Well, obviously he would like to see them honour their commitment,” said the federation Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi while speaking to Dawn on Saturday.

The PFF is reportedly spending more than 10 million in holding the ongoing edition of the league. Added to that is the Rs 9 million that they have already announced that they are going to spend in order to send the national team to China for the forthcoming Asian Games.

When asked how much the five-year contract had been worth, Lodhi said: “Well, they were only contributing to the league expenses which amounted to Rs 7 to 8 million per edition.”

About the sponsor’s reason for backing out, he said: “I believe that they have run into difficulties in raising money.”

But when informed about what is being reported in the football circles, he said that there has not been any violation from the PFF’s side while adding: “We have been calling them all this time but what can one do when they don’t respond? Still I don’t want to comment much on the matter as we are still holding talks with them.”

Asked if the PFF will take legal action against them, Lodhi said: “We’ll see.”