Indian govt has cleared Pakistan football team's participation in SAFF Cup: AIFF
The Indian government has cleared the Pakistan football team's participation in the SAFF Cup, confirmed AIFF Secretary.
The Indian government has cleared the Pakistan football team's participation in the SAFF Cup in Bengaluru from June 21 to July 4, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said on Thursday.
AIFF secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran said India has "done its part" by clearing Pakistan's participation in the eight-nation regional tournament and it's now up to the neighboring country to complete the formalities.
"Yes, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, and Sports Ministry all have cleared (Pakistan's participation)," Prabhakaran told PTI.
"We have done our part. We welcome them (Pakistan). All the participating countries have got visa clearance. They have to do their part of the visa formalities."
India and Pakistan are in the same group and they face each other on June 21 in their campaign opener. This is the first time in five years that the two neighboring countries would be playing against each other.
The last time India took on Pakistan on the football field was in the semi-finals of the 2018 SAFF Championship, which India won 3-1. Lebanon, Kuwait, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Maldives are the other participating countries.
Sri Lanka is not taking part as it is serving a suspension from the world governing body FIFA, while Afghanistan left SAFF to join the Central Asian Football Federation a few years back. Pakistan did not feature in two tournaments out of the 13 editions held so far since 1993.