BERNE - Pakistan have been cleared to
play next month's 2014 World Cup qualifier in Lahore and
there have been no formal requests from opponents Bangladesh to
switch the game, FIFA said on Thursday.
The Asian zone preliminary round second-leg tie will be one
of the first important international sporting events to be held
in Pakistan since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team
bus in Lahore in 2009, killing seven people.
"We have been in contact with the Asian Football
Confederation (AFC) and neither organisation has so far received
any communication or request related to this two-legged
qualifying match, contrary to recent media reports," FIFA told
Reuters in an email.
"Prior to the qualifying competition kicking off, FIFA, in
conjunction with its confederations sought to establish any
countries where matches could not currently take place, either
due to more long-term internal problems, or more recent events
such as in Syria and Yemen.
"However, Pakistan was not on that list."
FIFA added that Pakistan had already hosted an Olympic Games
qualifier against Malaysia in March at the Punjab stadium,
Lahore, where the July 3 match is due to be held.
Bangladesh football federation president Kazi Salahuddin
said on Monday that FIFA had turned down its request to relocate
"During the FIFA congress in Zurich earlier this month we
requested them to allow us to play both legs in Dhaka. But they
did not agree," Salahuddin told reporters.
Bangladesh said former coach Robert Rubcic, fired on Tuesday
after a pay row, had been reluctant to travel to Pakistan.
Six Pakistani policemen and a driver were killed in the
attack in March 2009 while five Sri Lankan players were also
wounded in the team bus which came under attack near the Gaddafi
Afghanistan last month became the first foreign cricket team
to play in Pakistan since the attack when they played a Pakistan
Neither Pakistan nor Bangladesh have ever qualified for a
football World Cup and neither team is seen as having a realistic
chance of playing in Brazil in 2014.
The first leg of the tie will be in Dhaka on June 29.
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