LAHORE: The much-awaited football series between arch-rivals India and Pakistan has been postponed for an indefinite period due to the situation in Birmingham where three families mourn the death of their members during the recent riots in England.
Interestingly, the development follows the announcement just hours earlier that British-born midfielder Adnan Farooq will captain Pakistan for the two-match series despite missing the training camp that was held at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore.
But in a complete reversal within a matter of hours, the matches, the first of which was to be held at Derby FC, on September 3 and the second in Glasgow, have now been postponed after much hype surrounding the series in the UK.
"The series is postponed for an indefinite period," event organiser Clem Leech told The Express Tribune. "The series was mainly to be hosted in memory of the three young men who lost their lives during the recent riots in Birmingham but due to the families' state, it has now been postponed."
The series, the first of its kind between the two countries in the UK, was being organised for the past nine months amid confusion over the schedule. After the dates and number of matches were finalised, Pakistan announced a 21-man squad for the football tourney and were scheduled to depart tomorrow.
But Leech said that the recent wave of riots and the deaths of three young men had taken its toll. "A football match has the potential to show support of the community, which stood together during the riots. But in time of grief, we cannot celebrate," added the official.
The organisers of the series had decided to dedicate the series to the riot victims, but, the tension and sorrow that grips the community has outperformed football.
"Obviously it's a blow to the preparation by both federations but we have to respect emotions. We aren't scrapping the plan and the series will be organised later after discussion with both federations."
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.
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