The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has signed a partnership with Global Soccer Ventures (GSV) to launch the Pakistan Football League (PFL) — a franchise-based event — and upgrade the infrastructure for the sport in the country, according to a press release issued on Tuesday.
The statement noted that apart from delivering "Pakistan's first domestic inter-city franchise league", the new venture would also entail the construction of a state-of-the-art "flagship" stadium in Karachi.
Furthermore, the league would collaborate with top European football clubs.
The federation, in its press release, said "this collaboration ensures funds are injected into Pakistan for the right reasons and for Pakistani football players so the nation can get its domestic football in order first.
"PFF has placed players at the heart of everything. PFL will help rebuild football in Pakistan by developing [a] new generation of players. It is designed to create a new football ecosystem to place Pakistan’s players in top priority."
"It is about time we take control to secure the future of Pakistan’s players," Ashfaq Shah, the PFF president, was quoted as saying.
Shah vowed to have football recognised in the country as a professional sport and "give it the professional impetus to cultivate our national talent and help them compete at an international level on our own soil".
GSV CEO Zabe Khan, meanwhile, said that there was "nothing" that could prevent a revival of football in Pakistan. His strategy, he said, offered a solution through a combination of "infrastructure, international collaboration and a sensational league".
GSV Chief Operating Officer Mike Farnan said that Pakistan was a "sleeping giant" with tremendous potential for football.
"At Manchester United International, the globalisation strategy was to focus on emerging markets. I have decided to adopt the same approach for Pakistan by creating a new football landscape. It is a big challenge in a big nation and for that I am willing to give Pakistan’s football a legitimate opportunity," he was quoted as saying in the statement.
It added that a groundbreaking announcement would follow in the coming weeks to reveal the full scope of the plans.
Dawn had previously learnt that the PFL would have six teams with PFF being offered Rs4 million for each franchise, which will be sold by GSV for $2m.
All commercial rights, including broadcasting and sponsorship, would be held by GSV with the PFF receiving 12.5 per cent of the total revenue.
The model proposed by GSV seems to be similar to the one in India, where IMG-Reliance secured all commercial rights to tournaments organised by the All Indian Football Federation for 15 years in 2010 and oversaw the launch of the Indian Super League four years later.