KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee had until Friday to send the entry of the national team for the SAFF Women’s Championship but there was confusion surrounding its status as the deadline approached.

Sources in the PFF NC told Dawn that the entry had been “signed and delivered” on Thursday night but the South Asian Football Federation said on Friday evening that it was yet to receive it.

“Still not,” SAFF general secretary Anwarul Haque Helal told Dawn when asked if the entry had been received.

By Friday night, SAFF was still waiting.

“They have confirmed us verbally but their official entry is yet to be received by us,” the SAFF general secretary informed.

The NC had expressed its interest in sending the team after a virtual meeting with Helal earlier this week.

The national women’s football team has not featured at an international tournament since the 2014 edition of the SAFF Women’s Championship which was hosted by Pakistan.

Since then, Pakistan football has been mired in crisis and controversy due to infighting in the PFF which in September 2019 forced FIFA into appointing a Normalisation Committee for the PFF.

But even the appointment of the NC did not spare Pakistan football from further controversy.

Pakistan was suspended by FIFA in April last year after the PFF headquarters were seized by a group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah, who was elected PFF president in polls held by the Supreme Court which FIFA never accepted.

The suspension was lifted last month after the PFF NC got back control of the PFF headquarters and arranged another way to obtain FIFA funding as a case regarding its bank accounts is still being heard in court.

Sources in the NC said that while FIFA funding hadn’t resumed as yet, participation in the SAFF Women’s Championship would be a special case and finances for it would be arranged.

The tournament is set to be staged in Nepal from Aug 29 to Sept 10.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2022

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