PFF announces National Football Cup 2018 after FIFA lifts ban

A group photo of the senior football team in Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Football Federation)
Updated 31 March 2018
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PFF announces National Football Cup 2018 after FIFA lifts ban

LAHORE: Taking a step forward to revive the sport after FIFA restored the country’s membership, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has announced it is holding the National Football Challenge Cup 2018 after a gap of two years, Shahid Khokhar, Director League Development and Media, confirmed to Arab News.
The challenge cup will be played from April 20 to May 10 in Karachi, where 24 teams are expected to participate.
In the last challenge cup played in 2016, 16 teams faced each other to lift the trophy, while the number of participating teams in 2015 was 14. This year more teams have showed an interest in taking part. Matches will be played on the grounds of Karachi Port Trust.
“The cup is a major milestone in the revival of football in the country, a step to cultivate talent and take the sport to new heights. The wastelands of football will be turned into green meadows of the sport now,” jubilant Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, president of the PFF, told Arab News.
The tournament was initiated in 1979 and had been played under different names — the Pakistan Football Federation President’s Cup, the Pakistan Inter-Departmental Championship, the National Departmental Championship, the Inter Provincial Championship — but in the year 2005 its name was changed to National Football Challenge Cup.
It is the first tournament of the Faisal-led PFF body after a gap of three years, as the federation was being run by a court-appointed administrator. The appointment of the administrator was declared unlawful by a division bench of the High Court which ordered financial and administrative control to be handed over to the legitimate body headed by Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat.
FIFA also lifted the ban imposed on PFF earlier this month after the legitimate body was restored by the court ruling.
“We got a positive response from football lovers as many new teams are vying to get registered in the National Challenge Cup 2018,” Hayat added.
The PFF secretary, Col. Ahmad Yar Lodhi, has also appreciated the formation of new departmental clubs.
It is “good for the game as it will support the endeavors of PFF in many ways,” reads a federation press release. “It would not only help groom new talent but many football coaches would also get employment with the new teams.”
Pakistan State Life Insurance, Asia Ghee Mills and Shama Banaspati have approached PFF for their teams to be registered for the National Challenge Cup 2018.
The PFF is vying to find new blood in Pakistani football and plans to form a special committee to find new talent for the national team.


Saudia E-Prix returns to Ad Diriyah with double header

Updated 24 June 2019
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Saudia E-Prix returns to Ad Diriyah with double header

  • The event will take place on Nov. 22 and 23
  • Two major races will take place in this year’s E-Prix, which made its Middle East debut in the Kingdom last year

DUBAI: The Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix is set to bring two races and more global acts in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22 and 23, adding twice the excitement to a historic event held at UNESCO world heritage site, according to the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia (GSA).

“This year we look forward to igniting an even bigger season of motor racing for Formula E, we’re ready to welcome even more international visitors, and create another unforgettable moment for our people,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman of the GSA, said in a statement.

Two major races will take place in this year’s E-Prix, which made its Middle East debut in the Kingdom last year with only one race. Music icons such as David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias, One Republic and the Black-Eyed Peas performed during the event. It was reportedly attended by some 60,000 people.

“This year sees even more teams enter the Formula E championship, with Porsche and Mercedes entering the fray. Last year Ad Diriyah was the launchpad for the new Gen 2 race cars and the exciting Attack Zone innovation. This year will be the first-time drivers will have an additional 10kW of power available when using that Attack Mode, rising from 225kW to 235kW,” Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF), said.

“Add to that, a double header – two races instead of one - with a total of 24 cars competing. This will fire up Saudi Arabia’s passion for motorsports and we are ready to welcome Formula E back,” he added.

The GSA is expecting crowds of up to 100,000 people to attend the E-Prix, given the improvements in the visa processing for tourists.

The 2019 Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix will be the second year of a 10-year partnership between ABB FIA Formula E and the GSA and the SAMF.