KARACHI: Muslim FC grabbed second spot in the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) courtesy a walkover against Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Saturday.
It was the second walkover the PPFL has seen in as many days and raises questions over the staging of league matches in Balochistan where several teams are reluctant to travel.
“The security situation means it is very difficult to travel to Balochistan,” an official of a PPFL team told Dawn on the condition of anonymity. “We fell constantly threatened as the crowd there is very rowdy.”
The official also admitted that the supporters of clubs in Balochistan are often very threatening towards opponent teams with the players having to bear with the brunt of those threats.
“They threaten the players as they want their team to win,” the official stated. “Even the referees are under pressure because they are under constant threat of being victims of violence.”
PAF refused to travel for their last three games of the season despite being in a healthy position to challenge for second place. And it has been a common practice for teams from the armed forces to skip their games in Balochistan.
That has led to calls from several players to stop holding games in the province.
“We’re at a disadvantage due to this,” Mohammad Essa of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), who are in the race for second spot, told Dawn earlier this week.
“Muslim FC have had a number of walkovers which has helped them rise up the standings and improve their goal-difference [as a walkover awards the team a 3-0 win].
“Come the end of the season, and if they finish above us, it would be severe injustice to KESC.”
KESC play their last game of the season against Wapda on Sunday and need a victory to go above Muslim FC, who have 62 points.
Also on Sunday, champions Khan Research Laboratories play Navy.
Sunday’s fixtures: Navy v KRL (PNS Karsaz Ground, Karachi); KESC v Wapda (KPT Football Stadium, Karachi).