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President Alvi backs ‘realistic’ Pakistan Football League amid FIFA ban

Says GSV is what Pakistan needs

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 30, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
Posted: Sep 30, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Photo: File

The Pakistan Football League has been given a nod by President Arif Alvi, who has called it’s plans ‘realistic’, while the country’s football federation continues to stay under a ban by FIFA due to third-party interference.

Pakistan was banned by the world’s football governing body in April after a group, led by Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah, conducted what FIFA termed a ‘hostile takeover’ of the PFF headquarters in Lahore.

The takeover took place while the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee was in-charge of the PFF, with a primary mandate to conduct the PFF elections after long-standing dispute between warring factions.

According to Ashfaq, he is the president of the PFF, as he won the body’s polls, conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Court in 2018, before he handed over the charge to the Normalisation Committee in 2019.

President Alvi said Global Soccer Ventures, the PFL organisers, will work without any affiliation with any PFF faction and with no interference from Normalisation Committee.

In August, GSV said it signed a deal with the Ashfaq — who leads one of the factions — for the PFL. GSV CEO Zabe Khan has also made it clear that “this is a franchise league and has nothing to do with FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation”.

“GSV is what Pakistan needs,” Alvi was quoted as saying in a press release after GSV chairperson Yasir Mehmood, COO Rafiq Chaudhry and Zabe met the president on Wednesday.

“Football needs experts like GSV to create a new sports economy in Pakistan which never existed or understood in Pakistan and put simply even I do now,” said the president.

Zabe said the GSV is looking forward to a partnership between the United Kingdom and Pakistan through the PFL. Former England great Michael Owen was announced as the League’s brand ambassador last week.

The PFL, GSV claims, will link its six franchises — named after Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Quetta, Islamabad and Peshawar — with English Premier League clubs.

“My remit is to recalibrate our nation with a future proof football ecosystem,” said the GSV CEO. “The UK and Pakistan partnership in football is all set to flourish in a sustainable development plan to finally give Pakistan a level playing field to meet international standards.”

GSV said it was investing and creating “a new sports economy” in Pakistan worth $60 million over the next five years. “It will prioritise on the crippled football infrastructure in Pakistan,” said the press release. 

GSV said the stadium design and schedule was disclosed to President Alvi in this high level meeting. 

“More than the league, the state of the art stadium has created a sense of excitement amongst senior government officials in Pakistan,” it said. 

“The public speculation over the design of the stadium is also gathering momentum with plans to unveil it from the home of football in England next month.”

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Arif Alvi, President Alvi, Pakistan Football League, PFL, Global Soccer Ventures, Zabe Khan, FIFA ban, PFF, federation
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