NC mulls shifting Pak-Jordan game abroad

By our correspondent
LAHORE: The country’s die-hard football fans are likely to be deprived of witnessing Pakistan-Jordan match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on March 21 at Jinnah Stadium Islamabad.
Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee on Monday said that it has decided to explore alternative options for hosting Jordan, saying Jinnah Stadium falls short of FIFA’s required standards.
“Since our last home game against Tajikistan in November, the Pakistan Football Federation, in collaboration with the Pakistan Sports Board, has been diligently working on preparing the Jinnah Stadium for the upcoming match against Jordan scheduled for March,” NC said in a statement it uploaded on its official X.
“However we regret to inform you that, despite our best efforts, the current standard of the Jinnah Stadium does not meet FIFA standards,” the statement said.
“One significant challenge we are facing is related to the lighting conditions. As the March game is scheduled to be held under lights, and considering it falls during Ramazan, we have encountered difficulties in meeting FIFA’s lighting standards with the current setup,” it added.
“The deadline for venue submission was January 21 and as we are committed to upholding the integrity of the game, we’ve decided to explore alternative options. We will be in contact with the Jordan Football Association to discuss the arrangement of a neutral venue for the home leg,” it added.
“We appreciate your understanding and continued support as we navigate through these challenges. We will keep you updated on further developments and sincerely hope for your unwavering support as we strive to represent Pakistan with pride on the international stage,” the statement said.
Meanwhile Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) in a letter to the NC’s legal head Ali Akram on January 19 said that the matter was consulted with the P&D wing of the PSB and it is hereby confirmed that Jinnah Stadium will be ready to host Pakistan-Jordan match in March.
“The lights and seats will be installed well before the match as per required standard,” the letter said, which PSB wrote in reply to NC’s letter it addressed to the Board on January 17.
A PSB senior official told this correspondent:
“They have never said us that January 21 will be the deadline. They have said it in a tweet. They could have told us before,” the official said.
“We have been assuring them at every forum since long that we will complete it,” the official said.
“We have already issued them confirmation letter on January 19.
“We are committed to prepare the venue. The great thing was that we had managed a big crowd and we are ready to conduct future matches also in style,” the official said.

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