KARACHI: First, the organisation of the last round of the National Challenge Cup was hit due to the unavailability of the venue.

Then, the National Women’s Championship was postponed due to academic exams of the players.

Holding domestic competitions after a long gap, the Pakistan Football Federation Norma­lisation Committee is facing several obstacles even if it held the draw for the fifth phase of the National Futsal Cup in Karachi.

The PFF NC announced on Friday that it was indefinitely shelving plans to hold the National Women’s Championship, which was set to kick off in Karachi from May 5.

“This decision comes in response to feedback from representatives of various clubs, who expressed concerns regarding potential clashes between the championship schedule and the academic commitments of their players,” it said in a statement.

“In light of these considerations, the PFF has made the difficult but necessary decision to

postpone the event. However, the revised schedule for the National Women’s Football Championship 2024 will be announced in due course, following further consultation with club representatives and careful consideration of all relevant factors.”

In a letter sent to the teams, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the PFF NC noted that it “had received numerous requests from teams regarding clashes between the scheduled dates of the Championship and important O/A Levels examinations among others”.

It added it realises the “challenges they [examinations] pose for participating teams”.

The PFF has already stated that only club sides from the country will be allowed to take part in the women’s championship, meaning departmental teams like defending champions Pakistan Army, who won the title when the event was last held in its entirety in 2020, would not be able to take part.

The decision to postpone the women’s championship came a day after the PFF NC admitted it was looking for another venue, with Islamabad’s Jinnah Stadium its preferred

choice, due to the unavailability of Lahore’s Punjab Stadium for the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup.

The group stages of the Challenge Cup, the premier cup tournament for men’s teams, was held last year and the PFF NC had announced that the concluding part of the tournament will take place from May 1 to 12.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2024

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