Pakistan & Football; Friend or Foe?

What is the future like?


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Pakistanis love football, it is the unofficial national sport of Pakistan. However, despite the immense love and passion with which football is played in Pakistan, football never lived up to the potential largely due to heavy suppression by the national sport; cricket, and negligence towards the football. Although Pakistan performed exceptionally well in the Asian Games winning four gold medals in the years 1989, 1991, 2004, 2006 respectively. Pakistan is yet to win a World Cup Qualifying game making it the only country in the continent of Asia to not do so.

Although the sport has gained immense popularity at local levels with the development of new clubs and football training academies throughout the country, there is a lot to do professionally as Pakistan lacks a footprint in the international scene.

Talking about the future of professional football in Pakistan, at the moment it does not seem very bright or at least it has been made so. Following the recent controversy surrounding the FIFA Normalization committee and the Pakistan Football Federation, Pakistan now stands banned by FIFA, unable to partake in any tournament, leaving the fans and the players alike devastated. They wait and pray anxiously for the situation to be better so football in Pakistan can prosper but with the recent developments in the perspective, that seems like a stretch too far.

The ongoing tussle between the Pakistan Football Federation and the FIFA Normalization Committee is about who gets to run the PFF. Initially, the courts had appointed Ashfaq as the PFF chief in 2018 but FIFA rejected it since it does not allow for third-party members to interfere in its associations. In 2019, when Haroon succeeded in the executive appointment of PFF. PFF’s initial mandate was to be held in 2019 but owing to coronavirus, FIFA extended the mandate, satisfied with the efforts of the NC on the ground. To which Ashfaq and the group reacted aggressively with the narrative that the NC is consuming millions but is not doing anything for the sport, forcefully taking the PFF back.

While both parties are looking towards a resolution, what the future holds for the sport is uncertain.

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Habib Rajput

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