Fate of this year’s SAFF Championship to be decided in July

Published June 24, 2020
In this file photo Pakistan’s Mohammad Ali (R) and Mahmood Khan vie for the ball with Bangladesh players during their SAFF Cup Group ‘A’ match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.—Courtesy SAFF
In this file photo Pakistan’s Mohammad Ali (R) and Mahmood Khan vie for the ball with Bangladesh players during their SAFF Cup Group ‘A’ match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.—Courtesy SAFF

KARACHI: The fate of the latest edition of South Asia’s premier football tournament will be decided next month.

South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) secretary general Anwaul Haque Helal told Dawn on Tuesday that it was going to hold a meeting with the general secretaries of its member associations to decide on holding of the SAFF Championship, scheduled for September this year.

“We will be holding an online meeting with the general secretaries of our member associations discuss this matter in the first week of July,” Helal said when asked if the tournament will be held on its scheduled dates of Sept19-30 amid rising coronavirus cases in South Asia.

Governments across South Asia have halted all sporting activities and it seems highly uncertain that this year’s SAFF Championship will be played.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the continent’s football governing body, has asked its member associations to “place the health and safety of players, officials and fans at the top of its agenda” while resuming football.

The AFC has announced new dates for the postponed matches in the second round of joint-qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Apart from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, the other four SAFF members — India, Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal — are all slated to play matches on two dates each in October and November and it means there will be little space in a tight post-Covid match calendar to accommodate the SAFF Championship.

However, the fact that most of the SAFF members have ended their domestic leagues while some like Pakistan couldn’t even begin might see space open up for the SAFF Championship if the virus outbreak eases.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2020

Opinion

Law & processions
16 Oct 2021

Law & processions

It is up to the police to impose reasonable conditions on a procession.
Is the party over?
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Is the party over?

Many in PTI are concerned how they can hang on till the next elections.
The last fortress
Updated 16 Oct 2021

The last fortress

The state wants to use the social media rules to trample on the right to freedom of speech.
Reopening under Covid
15 Oct 2021

Reopening under Covid

It will be a challenge to deal with all students returning to classrooms and maintaining SOPs.

Editorial

Diminishing freedom
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Diminishing freedom

DESPITE the serious reservations of digital rights activists and tech companies, the federal government has...
16 Oct 2021

Dirty politics

IN her outburst against Prime Minister Imran Khan this week, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz may not have taken names but...
16 Oct 2021

Decreasing emissions

THE announcement by SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam that carbon emissions in the country came down by 9pc...
No need for NAB
Updated 15 Oct 2021

No need for NAB

THE National Accountability Bureau has sent instructions to its regional bureaus to stop processing cases that fall...
Forced conversions
Updated 15 Oct 2021

Forced conversions

THE majoritarian view has once again prevailed in the matter of bringing about legislation against forced conversion...
15 Oct 2021

Transgender rights

MEMBERS of the transgender community in the country are often at the receiving end of both their families’ and...