Leisure Leagues (LL), the organizer of the first five-a-side football in Lisbon this year, says it will hold talks with Saudi sports authorities to bring the ISF (International Soccer Federation) world cup to the Kingdom next year.
Speaking to Arab News, Shahzaib Mehmood Trunkwala, vice president of ISF and president of the group that owns Leisure Leagues Pakistan (LLP), said: “The mega event will boost small-sided football in the Kingdom and South Asia through exchanging Saudi and foreign players onto different teams.”
Trunkwala said the forthcoming ISF world cup in Lisbon has won global attention as a large number of football fans are traveling to Portugal.
He said the Trunkwala family has been mentoring youth and promoting a healthier Pakistan for decades. The family plans to bring the Argentine football star Lionel Messi over next year.
“There have been talks between Leisure Leagues and Messi, and it is likely that Pakistani fans will see the world’s greatest star play here next year,” he said, adding that Messi has expressed his desire to bring two teams to play matches in Pakistan.
Last year, the LLP brought several international football players, including Brazilian star Ronaldinho and the Welsh ex-Manchester United ace Ryan Giggs to Pakistan.
The ISF organizes international small-sided football competitions for both national and club teams in the formats of five, six, seven and eight-a-side football.
Founded in 2017 by national operators of five and six-a-side football leagues across Europe and Asia, ISF brings together the expertise of the industry’s leaders to launch the most exciting international small-sided football tournaments in locations across the world.
Any national level organization which runs five, six, seven or eight-a-side football leagues is eligible to register to join the ISF and gain the license to run their national team. Once registered and approved, the licensee becomes the exclusive operator of their country’s national team and the only organization eligible to represent their country in ISF world or continental championships.
The first Socca6 World Cup will take place in 2018 and players wishing to play for their national team can apply online via the national team page for their country. Continental championships will take place from 2019.