SAFF Championship

SAFF Championship: Pakistan gain clearance from Indian govt for participation

Keshava VermaKeshava Verma

June 7 2023
Pakistan allowed to play SAFF Championship 2023 by AIFF India

A decision on Pakistan’s visit to India is yet to be made by their foreign office.

On Wednesday, the 7th of June, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) got clearance from the Indian government to host the Pakistan National Football Team at the 2023 SAFF Championship.

According to Geo Sport, India’s sports, interior, and foreign ministers have provided all required clearances for Pakistan’s participation in the tournament. The Pakistani Falcons will be staying at the southern city of Bengaluru, from the 18th of June to the 5th of July.

Geo News has also claimed that the AIFF has sent an email to the Pakistan Football Federation providing them with all the necessary documents along with the official invitation letter.

It has also been revealed that the decision of Pakistan’s foreign office regarding the clearance to visit India, is yet to be made, and for now remains the only restraint in Pakistan’s participation in the 2023 SAFF Championship. However, the NOC for Pakistan’s trip to Mauritius has been granted.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister’s say on the matter

Football is not the only sport affected due to strained relations between Pakistan and India, since there is also uncertainty around Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hosting cricket’s Asia Cup this year.

Amidst such strict constraints against Pakistan due to various political issues, Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhuto Zardari urged that sports should be kept away from politics.

“I believe we shouldn’t hold sport hostage to politics or foreign policy — sports inherently should be kept away from politics. It would be very petty of India if it were to hold sport hostage to politics,” Bilawal said during his trip to Goa, last month, where he attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting.

Now, with the SAFF Championship commencing in less than a month’s time, fans hope that all the necessary arrangements are made, so that the much awaited tournament and the India vs Pakistan clash can live up to their expectations.

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