Pakistan, India officials split over Super League claims

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PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat, left, with FIFA chief Sepp Blatter

Claims of a deal to bring Pakistani players to this year’s have been rejected by All Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel.

Patel, who on Thursday was elected as the Asian Football Confederation’s south zone vice president, was responding to comments by Football Federation marketing manager Naveed Haider Khan made to The Indian Express.

“Three Pakistan players will be inducted into [next season’s] ISL,” Khan told the paper. “I reminded Mr. Patel that there was also a deal for Pakistan players to [participate] last season, which never happened. But he assured me there will be opportunities next season.”

Key to the alleged agreement was the withdrawal of PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat from the AFC vice presidential race, just hours before the vote took place in Manama, Bahrain.

But while a PFF release trumpeted meetings between Hayat and leaders of other South Asian federations, which resulted in invitations to a July tournament in Maldives and a possible September series in Bangladesh, the participation of Pakistani players in India’s marquee league appears far from settled.

“[Khan’s claims are] not at all true,” Patel told The Indian Express, denying that any Pakistani players are scheduled to feature in the ISL.

The eight-team competition is scheduled to kick off its second season in September.