LAHORE: Football has not been included in the upcoming 33rd National Games which are scheduled to be held in Peshawar from Oct 26 to Nov 1 this year.

The National Games, which have been delayed since 2014, due to different reasons for which the original host Balochistan Olympic Association failed to conduct it and later the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) awarded it to its KP chapter.

However, in the initial list of the games, football is missing. As there is a dispute of parallel bodies in the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), but similar disputes are also existing in other three sports at the provincial levels, namely judo, athletics and cycling, but only football is out of the gala.

The POA has been struggling to end the parallel bodies issue of judo, cycling and athletics at the provincial level, but so far a final results of its efforts are to come.

When contacted, POA secretary Khalid Mahmood said football could also be included in the gala, if FIFA would form a normalisation committee within a certain period before the National Games.

FIFA is in the process to form a normalisation committee as its delegation has already visited Pakistan interviewing notable persons from both groups of Faisal Saleh Hayat and Syed Ashfaq from which a five-member committee, including two members of each group and one chairman would be formed to pave the way for the fresh elections after the scrutiny of the clubs.

“Yes the in the presence of the normalisation committee it will be easy for the POA and the organisers to include football,” Khalid said.

It may be mentioned here that neither cycling nor judo federations are affiliated with the POA, though, they are affiliated with their international bodies. The provincial bodies of these two sports are also not affiliated with some of the provincial Olympic associations, which is creating hurdle in including these sports. Similarly, the Athletics Federation of Pakistan, though is affiliated with the POA, its provincial chapters are not affiliated with their provincial Olympic associations.

The list of 30 sports included for the National Games are:

Men and women: Archery, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, cycling, golf, handball, hockey, judo, karate, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, squash, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting

Only men: Bodybuilding, boxing, gymnastics, kabaddi, softball, tug of war, wrestling.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2019

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