PFF hands empty envelopes to Lyari U14 teams

By Shazia Hasan [Dawn]

KARACHI, Jan 24: The envelopes supposedly carrying the winners` cheques, individual prize money and participating team amounts of Rs90,000 each at the concluding ceremony of the KESC U-14 Lyari Football League on Monday afternoon surprisingly turned out to be empty.

While the envelopes, said to contain Rs90,000 each, were given away to the 16 participating teams of the KESC Lyari Football League, they were amazingly found to be empty on closer inspection.

“First of all, every player of each 22-member squad had been promised Rs5,000 by the Pakistan Football Federation [PFF], which should have amounted to Rs110,000 for each team,” said one of the players after he had discovered that he had not been given what he had been promised. “Going back on their word, they decided to present the money to only 18 members of each squad, leaving out five deserving boys from each team which is so unfair.”

According to sources, the KESC as the main organiser of the event have already handed over Rs9 million to the PFF, which the federation failed to pass on to the young footballers on Monday.

On being contacted by Dawn over the issue, PFF Secretary Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said that they would give the money to the players later on. “We will be giving them the cheques in a few days,” he announced. However, when pointed out that most of the boys hail from poor homes and did not maintain a bank account, he said the PFF will make out the cheques in their parents` names.

When reminded that the exercise would take much paperwork, not to mention the time and effort, for collecting the names of the players` parents, Lodhi said: “All right fine! We`ll give them cash.”

But the KESC`s head of Sports Marketing, Zabe Khan expressed his annoyance over the whole episode. “This is not fair on PFF`s part. They were given the full amount by us before the event and it was a commitment from them that it will be distributed among the players after the final. They haven`t that and it has reflected poorly on everyone involved,” he said.