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Jordan Offers Solution to Pakistan’s FIFA World Cup Qualifier Hosting Woes

Jordan’s Football Association (JFA) has offered the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to shift their home tie, which was supposed to be held at Jinnah Stadium, to Jordan. Uncertainty lingers as the FIFA World Cup qualifier match nears between the two sides.

This will be Pakistan’s third match in Group G of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Round 2 and the Shaheens are in a quandary to host the match in Islamabad because of the inadequate quality of floodlights which does not meet the AFC and FIFA requirements. Pakistan lost the first two matches against Saudi Arabia with a 4-0 scoreline and were thrashed at home against Tajikistan by 6-1.

PFF requested AFC for a third deadline and it was granted till February 9 but the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has failed to install new lights in the stadium.

After the January 21 deadline passed the PFF asked for an extension from AFC till February 2 and then the extension was further granted till February 9. All three deadlines for submitting the venue for the home match to AFC have passed.

Unfortunately, the Pakistan Sports Board and PFF have been unable to work together to resolve the issues.
In the latest correspondence between PFF and the Pakistan Sports Board, a PSB Assistant Director wrote in a letter,

The PSB is in the process of upgradation of Jinnah Stadium as per AFC’s standards including light requirements which will be completed before the match, however, it is not feasible to provide completion report that it will be ready on February 2, 2024, as the work is in progress.

In regards to the continuous search for an extension, the PFF NC spokesperson said, “We are still trying to secure another extension to confirm the venue, but we haven’t received it yet”. “Also, the Jordan Football Association has offered to play our home game in Jordan, but this of course won’t be seen as a neutral venue, as per the AFC’s guidelines.”
The PFF NC has reiterated its stance that the PSB has assured them to install the lights before the match but they have not given them any dates on when the upgradation of lights in Jinnah Stadium will be completed, hence their search for the extension continues.
Pakistan will clash with Jordan on March 21 in their home tie while the away leg will be held on March 26 in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Round 2.

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