Pakistan Plans New Football League To Raise Sport's Profile In Country
Pakistan "is planning a major new football competition modelled on cricket’s hugely successful Indian Premier League in a bid to revitalise a sport, which has long stagnated," according to the AFP. The Pakistan Football Federation "is in talks with potential sponsors for the proposed league, which would feature six city-based teams playing each other in Lahore." Pakistan has had a "premier league" for the past nine years, but coaches and fans "complain of poor standards, awful pitches and walkovers." TV coverage "is non-existent and crowds for most matches number in the hundreds." PFF Marketing Consultant Naveed Haider Khan said that the new competition "would give football a much-needed shot of razzmatazz." Khan said, "We’re going to be giving cash incentives, we’ll look after their transportation, their accommodation, we’ll be trying to project it very heavily on television so people get the insight of what is happening in football." Khan said that the competition "is dependent on sponsors coming forward, but the PFF hopes to run it in May or September." If all goes well, there are "plans to expand the competition next year -- and even try to lure foreign players." Money "is another stumbling block." Without the mass appeal of cricket, Pakistan’s national obsession, football "struggles to attract sponsorship and the federation survives largely on grants" from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFP, 3/4).