KARACHI: With the franchise-based Pakistan Football League, backed by former England star Michael Owen, announcing a series of its launch events next month, the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee has finally acted, terming it as an “illegal” event.

The Haroon Malik-led PFF NC, appointed by global football body FIFA, said in a statement on Friday that the PFL was not sanctioned by it.

“The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has categorically stated that the franchise-based Pakistan Football League (PFL), which is claimed to be held in the next month, is an illegal event as per its statutes and has not sanctioned by the federation,” the PFF NC stated.

“The PFF is the sole governing body for football in Pakistan duly affiliated with FIFA and the AFC. The PFF’s authority is reinforced by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) vide its letter dated September 9, 2014 according to which the government only engages with national sports federations recognised by their respective international bodies.

“Participating in, organizing, or supporting any football event not sanctioned by the PFF is a clear violation of Article 82 of the PFF constitution and could lead to disciplinary measures. Furthermore, the PFF emphasises that it encourages any project aimed at genuine football development in the country, provided it is duly approved by the federation.”

The PFF NC’s statement came a day after British newspaper The Sun revealed that Owen will be joined by his former Liverpool and England strike partner Emile Heskey during the launch events in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi next month.

The PFL has announced Nov 1 as the starting date for its competition. Its claims of partnerships were denied by the English Premier League and its clubs.

The PFL is pointing to last year’s verdict by the European Court of Justice on the breakaway European Super League, which ruled against the principle of the governing bodies restricting a new league, to go ahead with its plans.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

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