by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Former national footballer Shahid Khan Shinwari on Sunday said that he can organise a franchise-based football league worth Rs 1 billion which will change the whole complexion of the sport in the country.
“I can bring football revolution as I can hold a franchise-based football league worth Rs 1 billion if no body obstructs my way. I can engage both national and international business community in achieving the goal,” Shahid told ‘The News’ in an interview.
Shahid is a renowned business tycoon and is also the convener of the FPCCI Pak Afghan Central Asia Trade.
He is a former national striker, having represented both Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Afghan FC in domestic leagues. He also attended national camps several times but could not get time to represent the country due to his business engagement.
“But one thing I will make clear is that I will keep the ownership of the league. The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) can give me only technical support,” Shahid was quick to add.
“I have strong contacts with the sponsors and business community both at home and abroad and I will achieve my goal one day,’ said Shahid, also a former president of FATA Olympic Association which has now been merged in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Football is a huge sport, being played in the entire world unlike cricket. I have told the PTI leadership that through football, Pakistan can improve its economy,” he said.
Shahid was unlucky not to organise a Rs 300 million Pakistan Football Super League (PFSL) last year when he was served a legal notice by the Ashfaq-led PFF and not allowed to go for the ambitious project which he had announced in March 2019.
“I had taken permission from the FIFA-recognised PFF led by Faisal Saleh Hayat because we had to engage foreign players too, four in each side of the five-team event. But we got a letter from Ashfaq-led PFF duly signed by its acting secretary Col Farasat and also served a legal notice to me and that is why I did not go for that,” Shahid recalled.
“I had worked very hard for that league, had engaged top players and had also invited Pakistan’s star footballer Kaleemullah from Turkey. I had engaged big sponsors and had cordial relations with the government,” he lamented.
“I had spent a lot of amount on preparation, had talked to Iran, UAE, Thailand and other Arab countries but permission issue foiled all my efforts,” added Shahid.
“I had also managed People’s Sports Complex Karachi, Punjab Stadium Lahore and Qayyum Sports Complex Peshawar as venues for the league,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shahid has also been named as senior vice-president of the Central Governing Committee of the Insaaf Sports and Culture Wing as per notification, a copy of which is available with this correspondent.
Shahid and other members of the committee will take oath in Islamabad on Monday (today).
Shah Zaman Alam will serve as president of the committee. The 17-member wing also include international badminton coach Raziuddin Ahmed who knows a lot about Pakistan’s sports.
“We will try our level best to play a positive role for the development of sports being part of the committee,” Shahid said.
“What I personally feel we will try to work jointly with the relevant authorities so that state of the art international level sports infrastructure is provided to the athletes in the provinces, particularly in those federating units like KP and Punjab where PTI is in power,” he said.