Afghanistan Launches First Professional Football League, Through Reality TV
Afghanistan is launching its first professional football championship with the "ambitious goal of bringing peace to the war-torn country" and with teams chosen through a reality TV show, according to Mushtaq Mojaddidi of the AFP. Afghans tend to be "football crazy" and "more passionate about European competitions," especially Spain's La Liga. Afghanistan Football Federation President Keramuddin Karim said, "To establish peace and stabilise a country, one must not only focus on training soldiers." Thousands of "young Afghans have already applied" to be a part of the tournament. Thirty players will be selected out of hundreds for each reality TV show and put through a series of physical, mental and football tests. The tournament, to be played in September and October, will involve pool and knockout stages with matches broadcast on Afghanistan's two main channels. The debut event already signed a sponsor, phone company Roshan. The eight teams will choose their members on the "Maidan e Sabz" (Green field) program. AFF member Sayed Ali Reza Aghazada said that players would receive pay but "did not offer any further details" (AFP, 7/11).