KARACHI: Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) step to deny Pakistan the 2019 AFC Cup slot has put a lot of pressure on the departmental teams of the Pakistan Premier League who will have to follow the AFC Club Licensing regulations as soon as possible.
Sources in Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) said that due to the inactivity of football for over three years, the club licensing regulations process could not be completed.
“We had already held a seminar on the matter in 2014 under the AFC representatives and instructed all the departments to work on the matter. We had told them that the rules would be implemented in 2018. Had three years not been wasted due to the conflict the club licensing process would have been completed and Pakistan would have been eligible for the 2019 AFC Cup,” the source said.
“This isn’t the fault of any club or the PFF, but the rival group is responsible which did nothing despite having occupied the PFF headquarters for years,” the source added.
‘The News’ learnt that the PFF had also sent the name of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), the winners of this year’s National Challenge Cup, to the AFC for the AFC Cup. However, the club’s entry was turned down as it was not fulfilling the club licensing regulations.
Sources said it now depended on departments to meet the club licensing regulations to make themselves eligible for the AFC Cup in future.
Sources, who are aware of the technical sides of the matter, said that the process of completing the club licensing might take a year. Soon after resuming activities in spring this year after being restored by Lahore High Court (LHC), the PFF held a seminar just before the start of the National Challenge Cup about club licensing in Karachi.
Other such seminars are in pipeline. The PFF also plans to meet the important persons of all departments who play in the Premier League with the mission to convince them to fulfill the AFC Club Licensing regulations which would help them strengthen their clubs from administrative and financial perspectives.
The rejection of a Pakistani club’s entry has jolted the country’s top teams currently featuring in the top-tier league being held after a lapse of three seasons.
“It has really shocked us when we heard that Pakistan was denied the AFC Cup slot. Playing in AFC Cup is a motivation for the Premier League teams, but the recent development has left them unsettled,” a senior official of a key department said.
When asked whether his department would adopt the club licensing regulations, he responded in affirmative.
“Yes, why not! We have already started working on restructuring and our department has also allocated a decent amount for the purpose,” the official said.
However, he was quick to add that the PFF should expedite its efforts of bringing all departments in the club licensing net as soon as possible.
“The PFF should divert its attention towards this crucial matter in order to ensure Pakistan’s entry in the AFC Cup in future,” the official stressed.
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