World Football - India-Pakistan games to be played in England

Mon, 11 Jul 11:09:00 2011

Cricket matches between India and Pakistan are on hold, but London, Manchester and Coventry will host three football friendlies between the rivals, the All India Football Federation said.

World Football - India-Pakistan in UK

"Playing Pakistan is always special," AIFF president Praful Patel said in a statement.

"It's a positive sign that we will play a bilateral football series against Pakistan. I'm sure all sporting fans are eagerly looking forward to it."

Manchester, Coventry and London will host the matches between August 25-September 11, the statement said, but the UK-based organisers told Reuters that neither the dates nor the stadiums had been finalised.

India's top players are Sunil Chetri - who almost joined Queen's Park Rangers two years ago but for a failed work permit application - and veteran captain Baichung Bhutia, who had a spell at English club Bury earlier in his career.

Pakistan's most well-known internationals are English-born former Football League duo Zesh Rehman (Muangthong United) and Adnan Ahmed, who is a free agent.

The last time India visited Pakistan for a football match was in 2005, although the sides last met in an AFC Challenge Cup qualifier in Malaysia this March. India won that contest 3-1.

India snapped bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attack in which Pakistani gunmen killed 166 people in a three-day shooting spree in India's financial capital.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani travelled to India in March this year to watch a World Cup semi-final featuring the neighbours and the 'cricket diplomacy' has rekindled hopes of a resumption of tests and one-dayers between the sides.


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