The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) issued a press release on Friday stating that All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel has “confirmed to resume the regular friendly series between Pakistan and India starting next year”. No Pakistani players were involved in the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) season and the last time India and Pakistan played a football series was in August 2014.
“Praful Patel has confirmed to resume the regular friendly series between Pakistan and India starting next year. He also assured PFF President to work closely & will ensure that talented players from Pakistan will be invited to play in the Indian Super League.”
An official from an ISL franchise said that even though the Pakistani players are allowed to take part in the second edition, it is highly unlikely they’ll be picked up by any team due to the availability of better options. He said that for players from the neighbouring country to be included, the organizers need to “specifically want” it.
“It is unlikely to happen. Unless the organisers specifically want the Pakistani players to be a part of the ISL, it won’t happen because none of the clubs would opt for them. There are better options available in the market,” the official said.
Praful Patel denies PFF claims
The PFF President Faisal Saleh Hayat had withdrawn his nomination for the Vice-President post in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) hours before the voting took place and backed Praful Patel, who was recently announced as the AFC Vice-President. This sparked speculation of an unofficial agreement between Patel and Hayat regarding the involvement of Pakistani players in the ISL and the resumption of the bilateral series.
When asked about Hayat’s surprising withdrawal, Patel said, “Yes, Pakistan agreed to withdraw. It was a good understanding and the decision was taken for the sake of the entire region. India will now have a bigger responsibility towards South Asia.”
When asked about the involvement of Pakistani players in the ISL, the AIFF President denied he was aware of anything regarding that, saying, “not that I am aware of”.Published 07 May 2015, 03:27 IST