KARACHI: Pakistan will be withdrawing from the South Asian Football Federation (Saff) Championships 2015 that will begin in Kerala on December 23, while the registration for the event will close on Tuesday.
A Pakistan Football Federation official confirmed that the country cannot register for the event in time and the federation does not have the funds to hold a camp to prepare the team.
Meanwhile, All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das also confirmed that Pakistan has withdrawn from the Championships without giving any reason.
“We have been informed that Pakistan has pulled out of the SAFF Championships. They did not give any reason for the withdrawal,” Das told Indian news agency on Tuesday.
Das further said that teams will be given walkover who were scheduled to play against Pakistan in the Championships.
“There will be no change in the schedule of the tournament and it will begin from December 23. India will get a walkover against Pakistan,” said Das.
Earlier, National striker Saadullah said that Pakistan would need to field a full-strength squad including players who are part of foreign leagues if they are to win the SAFF Championships.
Also, former national team captain Muhammad Essa Khan criticised the government for creating the mess that he thought could lead to Pakistan’s failure to participate in the event.
Pakistan have never won the SAFF Championships. Out of the total 10 events, India has been victorious six times while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Afghanistan have won it once each.