Pakistan to host South Asia football championship and two other soccer tournaments

A view of the match among the women football teams of Nepal and Bangladesh in the third SAFF women championship. (Photo courtesy: PFF)
Updated 14 April 2018
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Pakistan to host South Asia football championship and two other soccer tournaments

  • Pakistan will host three tournaments in the next three years, including a championship for women
  • It comes a month after country was reinstated by international football body FIFA

LAHORE: Pakistan is to host a series of international soccer competitions, with three regional tournaments set to be played in the country over the next three years.
They will be the first events since the restoration of the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) membership of world soccer body FIFA in March 2018.
“Pakistan will host the South Asia Football Federations (SAFF) Championship 2020 and the SAFF under-15 boys’ championship in 2019, while the under-19 women’s soccer championship will also be played on our soil in 2021,” said PFF Director of League Development and Media Shahid Khokhar.
The decision to award the hosting duties to Pakistan was made at a SAFF gathering in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 11, presided over by Kazi Salahuddin, president of the Bangladesh Football Federation and of SAFF. Representatives of the football federations of Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka attended.
Pakistan previously hosted the SAFF Championshipin 1993, when it was won by India. The PFF described the hosting duties as a big achievement, adding that it has been a long time since international soccer stars played in Pakistani stadiums.
SAFF’s office bearers for the next four-year term were also elected during the meeting, with Syed Khadim Ali Shah, the senior vice president of the PFF, appointed vice president of the South Asian soccer body.
“The unopposed election of Syed Khadim Ali Shah is an honor for Pakistan and we hope that Mr. Shah will keep on serving Pakistan’s football and playing his positive role in regional football development,” the PFF said.
“The SAFF Championship, also called South Asian Football Federation Cup ... is the main association-football competition for the men’s national football teams governed by SAFF.”
PFF President Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat said he hoped that the developments will help Pakistan earn more respect in world sports. He added that his team was grateful to the South-Asian nations for supporting Pakistan in its promotion of the game, and he vowed to improve Pakistani football.
“Pakistan’s football has suffered a lot in the past three years but, with the support of International football community, we are fully committed to bring it back on the progressive track” he said.
Fans in Pakistan were delighted to hear about the return of international soccer.
“It is a very good sign for sport of football,” said Amjad Maroof, a university student. We are jubilant that Pakistan will be hosting international football tournaments. We will open our hearts for the visiting international footballers.”
Members of the media were also delighted with the news.
“Pakistan has been deprived of hosting international sport events, causing a drain of talent,” said Ehtishamul Haq, a senior sports journalist. “The SAFF decision is a good omen for the sport as it will help to improve the skills of our footballers.”


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.