UK series postponement raises questions

KARACHI: The postponement of the football series in England involving India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has proved that it was not an easy job for any event management company to bring in the South Asian nations to play one another in the most developed football environment in the United Kingdom.

This was the second time in almost two years that the series involving India and Pakistan could not be made possible in England despite assurances from the organisers.

In 2011, Touchsky Sports, an event management company, was on the verge of holding a series between Pakistan and India in England but it had to postpone it at a time when both the teams were getting ready for departure.

At that time too the organisers had said that they had to cancel the series because they had been unable to get the required sponsorship.

The same thing has happened this time. However, this time the postponement came at an appropriate time as little preparation was made by the three countries.

Foreign media reports suggest that Pakistan and Bangladesh had confirmed their participation, but India had not because they wanted to get some solid assurances from the organisers. At one stage India were about to confirm participation, but the organisers said that they were not ready to go for the series as one of their key sponsors had backed out due to the chit fund scam in the West Bengal.

A top official of PFF said that they had not confirmed their entry, but had only shown their availability.

“How could we confirm our participation when the organisers had not yet met our demands,” PFF secretary Col Ahmad Yar Lodhi said to ‘The News’ from Bahawalpur on Wednesday.

“The series has not been cancelled and the organisers have asked us for giving new dates as soon as possible,” Lodhi said.

“They might have asked India and Bangladesh for fresh dates also. And it is not yet confirmed whether the series would be held in near future as every team might have international commitments,” Lodhi said.

The PFF had planned to hold a camp for the series from May 25. Lodhi said that the camp would be delayed and fresh dates would be decided after some progress about the England series was made.

Fulham FC, the English Premier League club, had announced on its website on April 30 that all the three matches would be conducted on its home pitch, the Craven Cottage, and had also put on sale the tickets for the tri-series. Fulham FC have said that they would refund the ticket money.

The whole thing has left a question mark not only about the credibility of the organisers but also about those in the federations who had agreed to go for the series without any clear picture being available to them.

From: The News