[QODLink]
Football

AFC chief condemns Pakistan attack

Asian Football boss denounces attack at football game, insisting country will still host youth qualifiers next month.

Last Modified: 09 Aug 2013 07:56
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The bombing at a low-key football event was apparently aimed at a provincial government minister [Reuters]

The Asian Football Confederation Friday denounced a deadly attack at a match in Pakistan two days earlier and insisted the country will still host qualifiers for a continental youth tournament.

The bomb killed eight young fans and injured others, just after the final of a local four-a-side tournament in Lyari - a Karachi slim - at about 2 am Wednesday.

Thousands, still awake during the fasting month of Ramadan, had gathered to watch the game before the blast. At least three of those killed were aged only 15.

It was the latest assault on sport in a country that has not hosted a top-level international match since militants attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in the eastern city of Lahore in March 2009.

"It's shameful to attack those who are enjoying a football game. Some of the innocent fans who lost their lives would have been budding footballers," said AFC president Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa in a statement.

Although football has long given solace to those living in Lyari, former FIFA referee Ahmed Jan says violence is hurting the game.

"Football is dying," said Jan.

"It died, maybe, for the last time on Tuesday. If the government fails to maintain law and order soon then I'm afraid this most sports-loving part of the city will not be there on the sporting map."

But AFC boss Sheikh Salman said in a statement that scheduled qualifiers for the 2014 Asian Under-16 championships would go ahead in October to give a further boost to the rising popularity of football in Pakistan.

Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates will compete in the event.

296

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list