KARACHI: Pakistan Air Force (PAF) footballer Mansoor Khan and coach Arshad Khan had planned to take part in the Sri Lankan Premier Football League but will instead be appearing in the FATA Super Football League, thanks to yet more mismanagement on the Pakistan Football League's (PFF) part.
PAF, after beating the Sri Lankan Air Force in a bilateral series, had struck a deal for its footballers to take part in the Sri Lankan league.
Mansoor and Arshad were supposed to be the first beneficiaries of that deal and were all set to fly off to Sri Lanka before PFF's failure to provide the PAF with the duo's International Transfer Certificate in time dashed their plans.
"We are still trying to get to Sri Lanka," said Arshad. "We've already missed the first stage of the Sri Lankan Premier League and are instead playing in the Fata Super Football League."
The PFF's management had always been in disarray but following the suspension the chaos and confusion within has hit a new low, much to the dismay of the players.
Per Arshad, he was told by the PFF secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi that they cannot play in the Sri Lankan league as it is played under FIFA rules and regulations, and so must exclude Pakistani players due to FIFA's decreed suspension.
However, his opinion is in direct conflict with international legal expert Andrea Basso, who claims that the suspension does not affect players.
"I believe the players currently registered in the PFF can be registered in other national associations as long as the transfer window is open," he told The Express Tribune. "They have the right to work and FIFA should grant them a temporary ITC for the transfer."
Arshad, too, has contacted FIFA for more clarity on the situation.
For now, he must make do with FATA Super Football League — a step down from what's on offer in Sri Lanka but a chance to play football nonetheless, something which Arshad doesn't take for granted.
This event should demonstrate to both the FIFA-backed Hayat group and the court-appointed administrator that Pakistan has so much potential for football," he said.
"This is a proper tournament with sponsors, our national players and even foreign footballers," said Arshad, whose Khyber Eagles FC has already qualified for the tournament's semi-finals. "Shahid Shinwari has down on his own what our PFF couldn't all these years. This shows that even though the authorities are not interested, the game is still flourishing in Pakistan. We are not stopping. I wish PFF could see this."
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