ISLAMABAD: Pakistan football fraternity believes National Football Federation (PFF) is ignoring the game and talent in the country saying political meddling must be stopped in sports.

Talking to APP, former international FIFA referee Ahmed Jan said football talent cannot flourish in the country unless political meddling is not stopped.

“Incumbent PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat has been leading PFF since 12 years but not even a single football ground has been made in the country,” he said.

He said currently Pakistan stands at 201, out of 206 in FIFA rankings. “Footballers must head the federation and FIFA must recognize them for football promotion in the country,” he said.

Former Pakistan captain and PFF secretary Col (R) Mujahidullah Tareen said football is not PFF’s priority. “We have so much talent in Lyari, Karachi that a whole national team can be formed from there,” he said but PFF is not interested in promoting football.

“The provincial government also didn’t pay attention in building grounds in Lyari which is also a reason for the decline of football,” he said.

He said in his tenure from 2006 to 2008 through Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Youth Programme I had installed coaches in different parts of the country but the current PFF setup removed them.

Karachi Zone-IV (South) Chairman Nasir Karim said PFF is not working in Lyari where there is plentiful of football talent. “We are managing football activities at our own. To improve football, we need to groom our youth by sending them abroad for excessive training and participation in tournaments,” he said.

When contacted PFF media manager Shahid Khokhar said in Faisal’s tenure Pakistan beat India and Afghanistan which were ranked above Pakistan. “We get Rs 150 million grant annually from FIFA and AFC which is wholly spent on football,” he said.

He said recently we held National Challenge Cup in Karachi and National Women’s Championship in Lahore.

“There are seven academies in the country out of which Quetta, Abbottabad and Lahore are working but the work on academies in Sindh was stopped due to the federation’s suspension,” he said.