Pak referees’ fitness unsatisfactory: Iqbal Jr [The News]

Pak referees’ fitness unsatisfactory: Iqbal Jr [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

LAHORE: Former FIFA referee and fitness instructor of the Member Association Pakistan, Iqbal Junior is not happy with the fitness of the country’s referees.

In an interview with The News, Iqbal Junior revealed that recently some of the country’s referees, who are on the FIFA list, failed Futuro course in Lahore.

“A fitness test had been conducted in Lahore in September as I was referees instructor. In that test two or three referees who failed fitness test were those who are on the FIFA list,” Iqbal said.

“It’s a frustrating situation. These referees should focus on fitness. They should leave politics, become referees and should read laws of the game,” he stressed.

“Unfortunately Pakistani referees get retired before reaching 45 years of age because they get unfit as they don’t focus on fitness,” he said.

“I am not satisfied with their fitness. Besides me and Rana Naseer no Pakistani referee has ever served at 45 years of age,” he was quick to add.

He also criticised the elections of the Pakistan Football Referees Association (PFRA) conducted recently. “What type of elections of the PFRA were held recently! If you read FIFA and AFC laws they say that top-level referees will be part of the referees committee,” Iqbal pointed out.

“In the world we are in the C category in refereeing. If we leave politics and focus on professional growth then there is a chance to rise to B and A categories,” he said.

“You don’t have a league. Those who are sitting in the PFF want their own referees to serve in events. It would have disheartened so many referees in all the four provinces,” Iqbal said.

Published in The News, 13 January 2024