PFF blasts football’s scythed down from National Games

PFF Chief Faisal Saleh Hayat talks about excluding of football from National Games

Lahore, 4 Dec: “With Pakistan have to tackle hard-hitting assignments like London Olumpics, AFC Challenge Cup, SAFF Championship in coming year 2011, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Football was penalized not for any kind of tackle or wrong doing but snubbed because it is an outfield sport game,” this is stated by Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat during Media briefing at FIFA Football House, Lahore on Saturday and added that “Such attitude with the World’s No.1 game was pathetic as it is also most watched game in Pakistan as far as domestic scene is concerned. If hockey can be drafted back into the list of disciplines of 31st National Games and provided with security then certainly other sports also have the right to be included in the national biennial event.”

It will be sixth Games on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after 1958, 1974, 1982, 1990 and 1998 at Peshawar that saw change of name from Sarhad by National Assembly on 8 April this year. The same city saw the debut of football in 1982 with PAF winning the gold

Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Ghulam Dastagir Akhtar, Provincial Sports Minister, Syed Aqil Shah, high provincial government officials, representatives of FC, PAF, Peshawar Cantonment, Police, Pakistan Olympic Association and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Olympic Association reviewed the provision of foolproof security arrangements for the players, officials and spectators for the Rs 60 million – Sports Gala which commenced on 25 December at Qayyum Sports Complex – the host of 1985 Quaid I Azam International Football event and 2005 Pakistan-India Football Test.

Faisal, also AFC Disciplinary Committee Chairman, has strongly recommended the concerned authorities to review this decision and asked for the game of football to be included in the forthcoming National Games. Hockey re-gained possession with wushu but. Football, however, failed to meet a similar fate despite strong protest from the PFF and soccer fraternity of four provinces, four regions in Pakistan.

He also expressed surprise over statement of POA, President Lt. Gen (Retd) Syed Arif Hasan who repeatedly saying “Considering the security concerns, we tried to limit the risk by reducing the disciplines.”while few weeks ago KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain confirmed that KP government was capable enough to provide security to players and officials of the National Games. Thus, no need to shift the scheduled Games from the province on the pretext of poor security arrangements. Pakistan Air Force also completed their 15 Pakistan Premier Football League home matches at the Peshawar successfully with six football teams from Karachi, two from Lahore, Rawalpindi, one from Islamabad, Sahiwal, Faisalabad, Nushki, Chaman enjoyed their time at the city meanwhile Aqil Shah, also LOC’s head, said that the successful conduct of the KP Games had proved that the security situation had improved and they were capable to hold the National Games without security fears. KPPOA was not incompetent or weak and that it could host as many as 40 disciplines if it wanted.

“These types of decisions from POA will send negative impression to all those who are associated with the game or want to seek their future in it. There was not a single Athlete in track and field event of Asian Games and Commonwealth Games but still Athletics is in the Games for the reasons best known to high ups.

He also caused surprise over Arif’s remarks who said that he wanted to place emphasis on the sports and not get bogged down by a chaos. The truth is that the Anti-Doping Commission of Pakistan (ADCP) has imposed bans on athletes who failed dope tests conducted during the 42nd National Athletics Championship in Islamabad last July, but still the game is in the Games. Why?” PFF’s Secretary General Lt.Col ® Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi told, adding that the decision to exclude football has raised several eyebrows.

“Football is a game which is watched almost in every part of the country but the way it has been treated is insulting. All the World Cuppers, Olympians are furious over the omission and are looking forward to condemn this ruling in every possible way.”Lodhi had earlier written a letter to POA, President Lt. Gen (Retd) Syed Arif Hasan of which a copy is provided to Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General and Ministry of Sports.

“The decision of excluding this game from the eagerly awaited National Games is absolutely incorrect and very damaging for the development of football in Pakistan,” Lodhi expressed.

He stated that there are over 60,000 registered football players in Pakistan and the number of unregistered players, according to a rough estimate is more than one million.

“These players look forward to represent their Regional / Provincial teams in the National Games and these games also provide a very good opportunity of talent hunt to PFF but by the exclusion of this major game POA has not only hurt the keen youth of Pakistan involved in football but has also deprived PFF from a talent hunt opportunity.”