KARACHI: Global Soccer Ventures, looking to launch a franchise football league in Pakistan, have entered into a US$12million 10-year agreement with NED University of Engineering & Technology to set up a ‘Soccer City’ Stadium, it was announced in a news release on Tuesday.

It said that the reveal of the stadium plan is due to follow at the end of this month but Dawn understands that the deal will likely see the transformation the NED University’s football ground into a stadium which will host the matches of the Pakistan Football League, the six-team franchise league announced by GSV last year.

Although there is no start date for the PFL, the infrastructure for it is being developed with GSV claiming that the Soccer City will “offer FIFA international playing conditions and an enduring football experience for fans and players with a raft of marketing and technology opportunities for brands”.

“I have seen the science and evolution of football on offer and it will be a major transformation for football in Pakistan,” NED University vice-chancellor Dr. Sarosh Hashmat Lodhi was quoted as saying in the news release.

Former England striker Michael Owen, who is the brand ambassador for GSV, added that the Soccer City “would not only ignite inter-city football rivalry but will also become the future of football development all over Pakistan”.

GSV had entered into a long-term deal to hold the PFL with the court-elected Pakistan Football Federation of Ashfaq Hussain Shah, which isn’t recognised by FIFA.

But Ashfaq’s PFF has since been forced out of its office with the FIFA-appointed PFF Normalisation Committee set to be handed back the headquarters of the country’s football governing body which would see the lifting of the FIFA suspension on Pakistan in place since April.

GSV, though, has crucially secured backing from the government to launch the PFL which is modeled on cricket’s highly-popular Pakistan Super League.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2022

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