KARACHI: Former Pakistan football team coach Nasir Ismail on Friday asked FIFA to impose sanctions on Pakistan and hold fresh elections of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) so that the careers of the players could be revived.
“Ban is the only solution to the problem. As in that case the bread and butter of all the people associated with the PFF would stop and it would matter a lot,” Nasir told ‘The News’ in an interview.
“The world football governing body should also send its delegation to Pakistan so that it could meet the government officials and resolve the issue by holding the PFF elections transparently.
“Pakistan was rapidly progressing in football in the region and FIFA had awarded the country seven Goal Projects. Its footballers had started carving niche in foreign leagues like that of Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain and other countries. Imposing sanctions on such a state, which had started developing, would carry great weight as both FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) would then take keen interest in the resolution of the matter which has destroyed the careers of players and the people associated with the game,” Nasir pointed out.
Because of the dispute between the FIFA-recognised PFF and Arshad Lodhi Group, football has been inactive in Pakistan since April 2015.
During this time, Pakistan not only missed international events but also failed to hold its Premier League for two successive seasons. And the third season is also at stake as the matter is still in court and the hearing of the case will be held in September at the Lahore High Court (LHC).
In a bid to repair the damage, Nasir also asked the sports’ heads of the corporate sector, having football teams, to put their heads together and chalk out a strategy to hold departmental Premier League.
“This will help the players keep fit and will keep football alive. It’s not difficult for the departments to take the initiative. I salute all the departments who did not fire their players because of football inactivity in the country,” he added.
About the coming tour of the world’s former football mega stars headed by the Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, Nasir said it would help Pakistan build its image.
“It would boost Pakistan’s image and in future if the country plans to host a football event it would be easier to tell the international community that the situation is now much better in Pakistan and we deserve to hold an international meet,” Nasir conceded.
However, he was quick to add that besides this it would be a mere business trip and would not benefit Pakistan’s football.
“They will come and play a couple of exhibition matches and will go back. The tour of mega stars could have helped Pakistan’s football had the game been active in the country. It would really be an embarrassment when the touring stars would come to know that Pakistan has been among the non-playing nations for the last couple of years because of the dispute,” he said.
Ronaldinho will be accompanied by his 2002 World Cup winning squad fellow Roberto Carlos, former French midfielder Robert Pires, France’s Nicolas Anelka, Portugal’s Lui Boa Morte, Netherlands’s Goerge Boateng, England’s David James and former England and Chelsea captain John Terry.
The stars would play the top crop of Pakistan Leisure Leagues a couple of seven-a-side matches on July 8 and July 9 at Karachi and Lahore respectively.
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