Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has decided not to send its team to next month's South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship in India, according to a high-official of the regional football body.
“I received an e-mail yesterday from the PFF saying it is withdrawing the Pakistan team from the SAFF Championship,” said SAFF general secretary, Anwarul Haque Helal, adding that no official reason was provided for the pull-out.
Pakistan did not participate in any of the AFC and SAFF tournaments in recent times, including the inaugural SAFF U-16 Championship in Sylhet, the SAFF U-19 Championship in Nepal, and the AFC U-21 Championship in Dhaka this year, thanks to a high-court ruling regarding a disputed election of the PFF. All the activities of the federation have remained postponed due to the court order.
It is believed that the same issue has led to their pulling out of the show-piece event, branded as the 2015 Suzuki SAFF Cup, scheduled to be held from December 23 to January 3 in Kerala.
Pakistan's pull-out means the 12-day tournament will be a seven-team affair, with India Nepal and Sri Lanka in Group A while Group B will feature defending champions Afghanistan alongside Maldives, Bangladesh and Bhutan.