by Alam Zeb Safi
LAHORE: Pakistan’s mainstream footballers on Wednesday demanded that FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) revive the country’s Premier League and second-tier league as their absence for the last eight years has inflicted a huge financial damage on them.
The players said they were surprised why FIFA and AFC had not taken notice of the fact that during the last eight years only once the Premier League was conducted.
“Our basic demand from FIFA and AFC is to revive our domestic football events including the Premier League and second-tier league” a top footballer told ‘The News’ on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
“The Premier League was our major income source and its absence has inflicted a huge financial damage on us. We are unable to look after our families especially in this age of high inflation. FIFA should help revive our Premier League and the second-tier league so that footballers could look after their families properly,” the player said.
It was in the 2018-2019 season when the Premier League was held and that too was conducted by two different federations. The FIFA-recognised PFF conducted major part of the league and then the final part was conducted by the parallel PFF which had been formed as a result of the court-ordered elections.
“In the Premier League season a mainstream footballer could easily earn around Rs2 million which could help them look after their families. Now as there is no domestic football we have been compelled to do odd jobs to earn our livelihood,” the player said.
Another player said that it was the responsibility of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee to hold the Premier League and B division league as these two events were part of day-to-day affairs. FIFA had bound the NC it would handle all day-to-day affairs besides undertaking the task of holding the PFF elections.
“I am surprised why these two domestic events are being ignored. Because of this activity drought so many departments have folded their football teams. Despite the restoration of the departmental sports by the previous Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, departments are not ready to revive their football teams because there have been no domestic activities for the last so many years,” the player said.