Pakistan Football League launched [The News]

Pakistan Football League launched [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

LAHORE: The much-anticipated Pakistan Football League (PFL), the first ever franchise-based league in Pakistan’s football history, was on Tuesday officially launched here at a hotel.

The league’s global ambassador and former English striker Michael Owen and former English forward Emile Heskey were in attendance. Set to be conducted in November this year, the eight-team league is being organised by the PFL UK Holdings led by its chairman and an English businessman of Pakistani origin Farhan Junejo.

Michael Owen was optimistic about the future of Pakistan football. “I am very much excited about the future of Pakistan football,” Owen said while speaking at the PFL crowded launch ceremony.

“Two years ago I had come to Pakistan and was very impressed with the passion the people of Pakistan have for sports. And now after two years I have found their attitude very serious as what is going to happen,” Owen said.

He recalled that when he was offered to act as brand ambassador of the PFL three years ago he thought out and decided to take up this challenge. PFL chairman Farhan Junejo said: “We are trying to deliver a good project. We promise our children in the next two to three years they will see infrastructure and opportunities to play football. We aim to give opportunities to Pakistani kids,” he said.

“We will reach out to every district of Pakistan and we are going to give away 100,000 footballs and kits to the kids,” Farhan said. “Cricket is the most televised sport in Pakistan but football is the most played game here,” Farhan said.

“Such great people have come here to show that Pakistani kids have the right to play. I request the parents if their kids want to play football so go with them to the grounds and in future we will create good opportunities for them and provide them good infrastructure,” Farhan said.

“The 27-member foreign delegation is here and they want Pakistani kids to get opportunities to play football,” Farhan said. PFL CEO and President Ahmer Kunwar said that the PFL was designed to see how productive football in Pakistan was. “We are here to give players the opportunities to shine,” Ahmer said.

He said that they aim to create a business model which will be sustainable and will develop the sport in the country. UK Sport Export Champion Michael Farnan was also excited about the future of Pakistan football.

During the launch an agreement was also signed under which 100 Pakistani kids will be trained at the famous Benfica International Academy. “100 Pakistani kids will be trained every year in Benfica academy,” PFL chairman Farhan said before formal signing.

Zalmi FC, Lahore FC, Sialkot FC, Faisalabad Lions FC and Lyari Tigers FC were also announced.

Published in The News, 5 June 2024

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