Saturday October 16, 2021

Owen official ambassador of PFL for three years

September 25, 2021

KARACHI: Former England striker Michael Owen has signed a three-year deal to become the official ambassador of the Pakistan Football League (PFL), the first-ever franchise-based league, which is expected to be held next spring here.

The PFL organisers revealed on Friday that the 41-year-old, having played 89 matches for England from 1998-2008, will hold the reins of Pakistan’s football to help devise a strategic partnership programme by uniting the nation with the might of football in England. The PFL organisers said that Owen would unveil the PFL’s logo from the home of football in England in October. He is scheduled to visit Pakistan to run a series of football master classes and formally unveil the PFL, the organisers said.

The dates for the kick-off and a full league schedule would be released soon, it was informed.

The franchise teams will be named after Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad, Peshawar and Multan.

Owen will create a global professional gateway for a new crop of football players in Pakistan who can adapt to the modern game.

Owen is looking forward to identifying untapped talent in Pakistan. “Pakistan’s football potential is huge and I am excited about identifying untapped talent in a nation of 220 million,” said Owen, who played 216 matches for Liverpool, where he spent eight years. “I am looking to cross-promote and develop football between UK and Pakistan through the first ever franchise model league,” he added.

Zabe Khan, the CEO of the Global Soccer Ventures (GSV), the company which will organise the PFL, said he expected Owen to play a pivotal role in creating a new era of football in Pakistan.

Owen received the Ballon d’Or in 2001, one of the most coveted prizes in football. Pele hailed Owen as one of the world’s greatest living players in the current era.

Owen began his career with Liverpool FC as a schoolboy and went on to be their top goal scorer from 1997 until he moved to Real Madrid in the summer of 2004 for £8 million. After spending a year in Madrid, he returned to England to join Newcastle United for £16 million which was a club record fee at the time. In 2009, Owen joined Manchester United on a free transfer and after three years at Old Trafford, he joined Stoke City where he retired at the end of season 2012-2013.

His rise to glory started when he netted on his senior debut for Liverpool in 1997 against Wimbledon and the young English starlet made his debut for the England senior team in 1998, becoming the youngest player ever to represent England. Owen stands sixth in the list of top goal scorers for England with 40 goals.

Owen was the youngest player in the English Premier League to reach 100 goals. Owen also appears in the top ten highest goal scorers of the English Premier League with 150 goals. He twice won the Premier League Golden Boot as well as the PFA Young Player of the Year Award in 1998.

Owen is the son of Terry Owen, a former English footballer, who played for Chester, Bradford City, Rochdale and Everton.