PPL faces security concerns

KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has claimed that the departmental teams in the Pakistan Premier League (PPL) are scared of losing and have, as a result, boycotted their away-games in Chaman and Nushki, the home grounds of Afghan Football Club (FC) and Baloch FC.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Army and Navy had expressed reservations and called for change of venues as they forfeited their matches at the venues.

However, the PFF said that not holding the matches at those venues would infuriate the large crowds at the stadiums.

“The forces and other departmental teams like Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) are just scared of losing,” PFF Director Operations Pervez Mir told The Express Tribune. “We get the crowds of around 14,000 to 20,000 in Chaman and Nushki. And that’s why we can’t deny enjoyment to such a large gathering.

“Secondly, it is a privilege for the home team to host a match after playing an away match. We cannot deny that right to Afghan FC and Baloch FC.”

Navy coach Khalid Zubair had earlier written to the PFF regarding the security concerns and said that they would not allow the team to travel to the faraway venues. Army coach Shafqat Mahmood had reiterated the same, saying the PFF is being rigid about the venues.

However, according to Mir, the PFF is trying to promote club culture in Pakistan. “The PFF bears responsibility for the players’ safety but refusing to show up at the venues is lack of sportsmanship. These clubs have loyal fans who travel to Lahore and other places to follow their matches. Departmental sides are just creating an issue when it’s their turn.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2010.