Karachi United, Highlanders Club withdraw from National Women Football C’ship ahead of semi-finals


In a step that could be seen as players’ and teams’ vote of no confidence against Ashfaq Shah, the players of Karachi United and Highlanders Football Club have announced to withdraw from the ongoing National Women Football Championship after the Ashfaq-led-group refused to hand over Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) offices back to the normalisation committee.

While the Ashfaq group’s act may lead Pakistan to a suspension from FIFA, both clubs say that they do not support the incidents that took place at PFF last weekend and have decided not to play under the Ashfaq-led setup in protest.

Karachi United FC, which was scheduled to play against WAPDA Thursday morning in the semifinal, posted their decision on the club’s Facebook page, saying that given the prevailing circumstances and based on the decision of players, Karachi United has decided to withdraw its women’s team from the National Championship.

The statement added that while the team had played its quarter final “under protest” and for purely football reasons, it had hoped that the matter would be resolved.

“Since the FIFA deadline has passed and no corrective action has been taken, the team is left with no option but to withdraw from the competition,” the club said.

“Being a football organisation, we feel that footballers and teams should never have to be put in such situations to make such choices as players and teams just want to play,” they added.

Karachi United further appealed to the FIFA, AFC, NC and all stakeholders to urgently resolve this issue to avoid Pakistan being suspended and avoid damage to Pakistani footballers.

Islamabad based Highlanders football club said in the statement that following the recent development in PFF, it has decided not to participate in NWFC any further.

“We do not support any act that brings football into disrepute because we believe that no individual is bigger than the game. However, the integrity of game should be maintained at all levels,” the club said in a statement.

“We, the Highlanders club, believe that this is in best interest of Pakistan football,” the statement posted on club’s social media accounts said.

Highlanders Women Football Club was playing its first national women championship and they proved themselves as one of the contenders to win the Trophy. They were scheduled to play against Masha United in the semi final on Thursday.

“We travelled from Islamabad to Karachi with a dream to do well on football field and to win the national women football championship.

We are proud of Highlanders’ performance in the tournament and I believe that we made the statement that we wanted to,” the club said.

Earlier, six footballers from different teams had announced to boycott the championship ahead of the quarter final matches.

Hajra Khan, Khadija Kazmi, Sarah Ali, Mashal Hussain, Maria Khan and Zahra Shah had issued a issued a joint statement on Tuesday, saying “the integrity of game is being challenged by politicised governance, adding that “we, too, are responsible for upholding the integrity of the game.”—AFP

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