Sports

FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier: 'Jinnah Stadium floodlights don't meet FIFA, AFC specifications'

If the issue is not resolved, PFF will be forced to shift qualifying match against Saudi Arabia to a neutral venue

Faizan Lakhani
May 20, 2024
FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier: 'Jinnah Stadium floodlights don't meet FIFA, AFC specifications'
Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad. — Geo Super/File

Days before a FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying match between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee (NC) has apprised the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) that the floodlights at Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad don’t meet the FIFA and AFC specifications.

The development came as the PFF team visited Jinnah Stadium on May 3 and 18 to test the lighting and compile an observation report. However, after detailed assessment, it was evident that the floodlights didn’t meet international standards.

If the inconsistent lighting, especially around the goalposts, is not fixed, the PFF will be forced to shift next month's FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifying match against Saudi Arabia to a neutral venue.

According to a letter sent by the PFF to the PSB, the latter was promptly intimated about the issue through official correspondence to remedy the situation. However, the PFF were left disappointed that the situation remains the same.

The PFF has urged PSB to propose remedial measures so that the former can update the FIFA and AFC accordingly.

Pakistan will play matches against Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan on June 6 and 11, respectively, in the second round of the qualifiers. The match against Saudi Arabia will be held at Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad, whereas the fixture against Tajikistan will take place at the Dushanbe Central Stadium.

Pakistan are at the bottom of Group G as they have lost all their four matches they have played so far. Pakistan began their journey with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia in Al-Ahsa in November followed by a 6-1 loss at the hands of Tajikistan at Islamabad in the same month.

Jordan then defeated Pakistan 3-0 in Islamabad in a game held in Ramadan with the Shaheens also losing the reverse fixture 7-0 at the Amman International Stadium.


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