by Alam Zeb Safi
LAHORE: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee has requested Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for a further extension in the deadline relating to the submission of venue which will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers second round game between Pakistan and Jordan scheduled to be held on March 21, a senior official of NC confirmed to The News on Saturday.
As per FIFA and AFC rules NC had to submit the venue 60 days before the game which means by January 21 for hosting Jordan.
As Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) is eager to install the required floodlights and prepare Jinnah Stadium Islamabad for the show NC had sought an extension in the said deadline which had been granted by the AFC until February 2.
As PSB is still working on the project NC requested for another deadline extension which a well-placed source hoped that they would be given another extension in the deadline.
On February 1 the PFF NC wrote a letter to the PSB and inquired about the status of the venue for the most important game against Jordan.
NC asked PSB through the letter that it was compulsory that the venue should be made ready by February 2 and a completion certificate should also be issued by the same date.
NC told PSB that the requirement of submission of venue was due at least two months before the match and the initial deadline was January 21 and it was extended until February 2.
The PFF NC’s letter to PSB said in case of non-compliance with the deadline as per FIFA and the AFC rules the venue cannot be designated as the home ground and the match will be shifted to a different venue.
NC told PSB to share ‘compliance’ by February 2 so that the status of the venue could be communicated to FIFA and Jordan Football Association.
In response to the NC’s letter the PSB replied to NC through a letter it wrote on February 2 saying that the Board is upgrading Jinnah Stadium as per FIFA and the AFC requirements.
“The lights will also be installed and the process will be completed before the match. However it is not feasible to provide completion certificate that it will be ready on February 2, 2024 as the work is in progress,” the PSB letter to NC clarified.
Meanwhile a senior official of the PSB told The News on Saturday that according to the Board’s plan it will be able to make the venue ready by the end of this month.
“We can complete the venue before the game and we cannot do it as per NC’s deadlines which it is telling about,” the PSB official said.
“If it gives us February 15 or 18 so we will not be able to complete the process. We can make the venue ready by installing floodlights by the end of February,” the official said.