Australian Sports Outreach Program touches down in PFF

Peter Bartlett, First Secretary (Political), Australian High Commission, Islamabad

Lahore, 10 November: “Sport has the power to bring people together and deliver great health and social development dividends to communities across the world. It is a good way of bringing young people together and diverting them from anti-social and high risk behaviours. There is a broad consensus that regular physical activity is essential for the physical, mental, psychological and social development of children and adolescents. Playing sport can boost children’s health, improve concentration and learning, and help dissuade young people from crime.” this was stated by Peter Bartlett, First Secretary (Political), Australian High Commission, Islamabad who, on behalf of Australian High Commissioner Timothy George, announced Rs1.5 million (Australian $18,000) sports development grant to PFF.

This funding will assist PFF implement skill development projects in eight schools in both Lyari and Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as upgrade football fields in both areas. PFF projects are the latest of several sporting projects the Australian Government has assisted over the past three years. The Australian Government has provided more than Rs 7 million to various sporting sporting bodies of Pakistan.

Bartlett stressed his deep sympathy to the Pakistani people and the Pakistani football family on flood and said “It is imperative that your country receives the support of the international community.

Bartlett inaugurate the program on behalf of the Australian Sports Commission at FIFA Football House, Lahore on Wednesday and presented cheque of Rs.1.5 million. The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) under the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) is funding the PFF for the promotion of football in Pakistan and the PFF Youth Football Development Project in selected regions – Gilgit and Lyari.

He added that the Australian High Commission is pleased to support sports development in Pakistan and increasing opportunities for Gilgit and Lyari children to be fit and healthy and actively engaged in organised sporting activities.” He was accompanied by Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s Director Marketing Sardar Naveed Haider Khan during Media briefing.

“The ASOP has been operating since 2006. Encouraging young people to become involved in sport is a key aim of ASOP.It is managed by the Australian Sports Commission. Its goal is to increase capacity to deliver inclusive sports based programs that contribute to social development. “The ASOP is motivating people to organise and play more sport and to enjoy the many benefits of physical activity. Is funding will go towards building the capacity of youths, women and community leaders in areas of coaching, refereeing and sports administration and governance. Tailored to meet the needs and sporting interests of local communities in Gilgit and Lyari the program will make a significant contribution to development in Lyari and Gilgit.” added Naveed.

Press Conference at PFF Football House with Peter Bartlett

Bartlett also praised the activity of PFF since 2003 and praised PFF Development Program under Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat through which upcoming Pakistani booters put up glorious display in AFC U14 Festival of Football held at Al Quids Stadium, Hamedan City, Iran. Pakistan won five matches and drawn three matches. They overwhelmed Maldives three times – 4-0, 2-0 and 5-0 while their other triumphs were against India 4-2 and Bangladesh 8-0. They drew 1-1 with Nepal, and earned scoreless draw against Bangladesh, Iran and their lone defeat was against Iran 0-1.

He has lauded the invaluable contributions of Faisal Saleh Hayat for the promotion of football in Pakistan and said lately football was on a upward trend in Pakistan.” Pakistan has come a long way in terms of level of competitiveness in the last seven years and PFF management deserves praise for making solid efforts for the promotion of football’, said Australian hoping “I firmly believe that PFF would continue its journey in right direction under the leadership of Faisal”.

Bartlett is also convinced the standard of the game in Pakistan has greatly improved in recent years and Pakistan was unfortunate not to capitalize on the chances they received.”Pakistani football has much potential : there are some good players and some good teams, facilities are satisfactory but there is lack of money,”

He believes there are still some hurdles that need to be overcome for football to blossom in the Pakistan.”What’s lacking is a sense of professionalism, while some obstructions make it difficult for [players from the region] to adapt abroad.

PFF General Secretary Lt. Col (R) Ahmed Yar Khan presents souvenir to Peter Bartlett, First Secretary (Political), Australian High Commission, Islamabad. Naveed Haider looks on.

Bartlett congratulated Faisal on the successful completion of seven years as PFF Chief and expressed his desires to help Pakistan more in the soccer enhancement and to strengthen its infrastructure.” My congratulation to Faisal for getting berth in World Cup South Africa 2010 Committee and for adjudicating Disciplinary Cases of mega 32-team show as Member of FIFA Disciplinary Committee detailed for this historic mega event,” said Bartlett.

He added that those projects will be funded by ASOP having easily achievable and that will have impact , have a focus on participation based activities, increase community physical activity and/or improve sports development , build the capacity of organisations or individuals to be able to run sports, especially community sports leaders such as coaches, officials and administrators , promotes the professional or personal development of participants, promote healthy behaviours, build communities include one of the following target groups: children, aged 6–18, women and girls, people with a disability, people in remote or rural communities.