Pakistan-India football series: 'We don't buy the organisers' excuse'

Pakistan federation likely to take action against series postponement.

Natasha Raheel August 29, 2011

KARACHI: While the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) did not buy the reason behind postponing the country's two-match series against India, however, it said that the organisers were ready to reschedule the matches in October.

The two-match series, which was scheduled to be held in the UK, was postponed after organisers cited the mourning state of three Pakistani families whose members died due to riots in the country. The announcement was made just hours after the PFF announced the squad for the series.

The PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said that joint-action would be taken with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) against the organisers after the postponement happened at the last minute.

"We don't buy the excuse," Lodhi told The Express Tribune. "However, the PFF is open to the proposal of holding the series in October since Pakistan need exposure.

"But if that doesn't happen the PFF will join hands with the AIFF to take action against TouchSky Sportsa, which is a Fifa-licensed match organising company."

Meanwhile, according to an AIFF official, the postponement of the series virtually means that it has been cancelled.

"We don't see the series happening at all," said the AIFF official. "Our domestic league will start next month and it will be very difficult for us to ask the clubs to release their players. We can't say anything about legal action as yet, since it will be decided in our executive committee meeting next month."

'It was a breach of  contract'

However, the PFF Director Marketing and Events Management Sardar Naveed Haider said that the federation will register a complaint against TouchSky Sports and the English Football Association.

He said that a contract had been breached and the organisers took an independent decision without consulting the PFF or the AIFF.

On the other end, TouchSky Sports match manager Clem Leech has said that the company had taken the decision to pay respect to the mourning Pakistani community in England.

"No one asked us to delay it but it is the sentiment that matters," said Leech. "The grandmother of one of the youngmen killed, also lapsed into a coma after the incident.

"It just didn't feel right for the sereis to go ahead. However, the series will take place - if not this year then the next. Everything comes down to scheduling and making sure that the PFF and AIFF are in agreement," said Leech.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th,  2011.

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