by Alam Zeb Safi
LAHORE: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee has handed a tough undertaking letter to the three Premier League clubs from Balochistan which they have to sign if they desire to represent the country in the inaugural SAFF Club Championship to be held next year.
It will be interesting to see how the club featuring in the SAFF Club Championship will meet financial expenses, licensing requirements and the related pre-requisites for featuring in such an event being held for the first time.
Three Premier League clubs from Balochistan, Muslim FC, Afghan FC and Nushki’s Baloch FC, will compete in the next few days for a single SAFF Club Championship slot. The undertaking which the PFF NC has sent to the clubs entails the following points.
“(a) We do hereby solemnly undertake and confirm that we shall ensure that all the requirements of a club registration with the Pakistan Football Connect Programme are duly complied with
“(b) That we shall bear all the financial expenses of the travelling contingent (players and officials) incurred during the course of this competition, such as travel, accommodation, visa processing fee and other related costs;
“(c) That we guarantee that the PFF shall have the exclusive right to broadcasting, recording, telecasting, photographing, filming, taping, and/or other reproduction in any manner or form of the Competition, without any compensation
“(d) That we guarantee that PFF shall have exclusive media rights to use all photographs, films, tapes, recordings, and other reproductions of the competition, including the name, likeness, voice, and other personal characteristics of the club, in any media now known or hereafter invented, without any compensation;
“(e) That we shall comply with and be bound by all the rules and regulations of FIFA, AFC, PFF and the SAFF Club Championship 2024 Competition;
“(f) That the terms of this undertaking shall be binding on (the club) and shall be governed under the laws of FIFA, AFC, PFF and CAS jurisprudence;
“(g) That we shall provide a bank draft amounting to Rs 4 million to the Pakistan Football Federation duly issued by the General Secretary or the President of the concerned club.”
“In case the club fails to participate in the SAFF Club Championship 2024 the PFF reserves the right to cash this bank draft,” the undertaking letter said.
It will also be interesting to see whether these clubs fulfill the criteria of the SAFF Club Licensing.
Sources said that the undertaking is too hard for cash-strapped Afghan FC. Sources said that the club is negotiating it with the PFF NC which is under fire for ignoring departmental sides for this event.
Sources said that Muslim FC and Nushki’s Baloch FC are expected to meet the pressing demands and they are committed to fielding their teams in the SAFF Club Championship if they win the local event.
Sources said that Muslim FC, owned by a financially strong group of people, are highly expected to get sponsorship from companies based in Islamabad and Lahore.
“We are negotiating a deal with a few companies whose names I cannot reveal at this stage. We are making preparation and hopefully if we get the right to feature in the region’s major event then we will meet all the requirements,” a Muslim FC source told this correspondent.
Sources said that Nushki’s Baloch FC, owned and backed by a renowned politician, is also ready to compete for winning the lone SAFF Club Championship slot.
“I don’t think Afghan FC will be able to compete in the three-club event. If it does not do it then Muslim FC and Baloch FC will compete and the winner will qualify for the SAFF Club Championship slot,” a source said.
Meanwhile, in reaction to the NC’s step to field a club in the SAFF Club Championship, departments have put their heads together and aim to hold a major protest in front of the PFF headquarters in Lahore in the next few days.
Stakeholders in Lahore have also decided to launch a protest in the next few days. Besides other demands they will demand that NC pay dues of the players and officials of various age-group teams who have competed in international circuit for the last one year or so.