Pakistanis unlikely to witness FIFA World Cup qualifier at home

PFF highlights significant challenge related to lighting conditions as the game has to be played under lights

Pakistan men’s football team is playing against Tajikistan in the second round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Islamabad, Pakistan on November 21, 2023. —Pakistan Football Federation

KARACHI: Football enthusiasts in Pakistan may miss the opportunity to witness Pakistan’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Jordan on home turf, as the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has confirmed that Islamabad’s Jinnah Stadium falls short of the global governing body’s standards.

In a statement released on Monday, the PFF conveyed that it is actively exploring alternative venues to ensure the game takes place at a neutral location.

“In collaboration with the Pakistan Sports Board, the Pakistan Football Federation has been dedicatedly working on preparing Jinnah Stadium for the upcoming March match against Jordan,” PFF stated.

“Regrettably, despite our best efforts, the current standard of Jinnah Stadium does not meet FIFA requirements,” it added.

The PFF highlighted a significant challenge related to lighting conditions, stating, “As the March game is scheduled to be held under lights and coincides with Ramazan, meeting FIFA’s lighting standards with the current setup has posed difficulties.”

Citing the January 21 deadline for venue submission and a commitment to upholding the game’s integrity, the PFF affirmed its decision to explore alternative options. “We will be in contact with the Jordan Football Association to discuss arrangements for a neutral venue for the home leg,” the statement added.

Jinnah Stadium previously hosted Pakistan’s home game in the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Tajikistan in November, drawing a crowd of 24,000 spectators cheering for the national team.

While Pakistan’s next home match against Jordan is scheduled for March 21, this recent development has left football fans in Pakistan disappointed.

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