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Karachi, Lahore to host PPFL

July 30, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL), carrying 12 teams, will be held in Karachi and Lahore from September 1 to December 10, a senior official of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) told The News on Sunday.

“Yes we have finalised the schedule. The event will be held from September 1 to December 10 in Karachi and Lahore,” the official said. This would be after long three years that the country’s top-tier football event will be held. In the past three years the league could not be managed due to legal conflict between the PFF and its rival group led by former PFF secretary Arshad Lodhi.

The four-time champions Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and WAPDA will be joined by two-time former winners Army, the last edition’s winners K-Electric, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Navy, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Chaman’s Afghan FC, Chaman’s Muslim FC and Quetta’s Baloch FC.

Those two sides, which will finish at the rock bottom, would be relegated to the second-tier league. The first phase of the event to be played on home and away basis will be conducted here at the KPT Sports Complex. As many as two matches will be held daily. And from November 1 the second phase will begin at Lahore. The organisers have not yet decided the venue for the Punjab phase.

Any one venue from Punjab Stadium Lahore, Model Town Ground Lahore and Railways Ground will be chosen for the Punjab round. The PFF official said that the decision to hold the season at a single venue was to attract more crowd. “We want to attract the crowd and this is the only way to keep the rounds at a single ground. There will be two matches in the day which is easy to be held at the same venue,” the official said.

However he was quick to add that Faisalabad could also be considered as one of the venues if there was a chance of a crowd. “We will look into the matter and will decide later. But currently only Karachi and Lahore are on our radar,” the official said. The official said that a team could register 25 to 35 players with the PFF for the season whose winners will also play in the AFC Cup.

The PFF is also mulling over an option to substantially increase the bonuses of the teams and prize money. “There is certainly a move for raising incentives but I cannot confirm it,” the official added. A team, like in the past, will have to keep one AFC License A coach as its

head coach during the season.

The PFF has already issued circulars about the league to all the participating teams so that they could prepare for the most important assignment.

Earlier it was expected that there would be some drastic changes in the format of the league but it could not be made due to shortage of time, the organisers said.“From next season solid steps will be taken to put the league on professional footings,” the official said.

The official said that all eight FIFA referees, including three FIFA referees and five assistant FIFA referees, will be assigned the task to supervise the matches at the two centres.The timing of the matches will be decided later keeping in view the sun-set schedule in those months.

Five days before the kick-off of the league a fitness test of referees will be conducted at Lahore. The organisers will also make new cards for the players who will feature in the league. This time no foreign player will be seen in the league as K-Electric, the 2014-15 champions, has released both its Nigerian players Sunday and Wilson.