Plans have been unveiled for Pakistan’s first “soccer city stadium”, with officials defending the inclusion of an athletics track in the scheme.
Karachi is set to receive the venue through a deal that was signed earlier this month in association with the planned formation of a new football league in the country. Global Soccer Ventures (GSV), which is behind the new league, entered into a 10-year deal with the Karachi-based NED University of Engineering & Technology (NED) for the stadium project.
GSV said at the time that the “state-of-the-art” stadium would be influenced and designed by German engineering as part of a series of football infrastructure projects in Pakistan. GSV added that the $12m (£8.94m/€10.76m) deal with NED would provide a venue with “FIFA international playing conditions”, as well as an “enduring football experience” for fans and players with a raft of marketing and technology opportunities for brands never offered before in Pakistan sports.
Michael Owen is involved in the project as a brand ambassador of GSV, and the former England international this week travelled to Pakistan to be part of a series of announcements for the venture.
GSV has released a video showing the intended vision for the stadium, with the presence of an athletics track raising questions of how it will offer a football-specific experience. NED University vice-chancellor, Dr Sarosh Hashmat Lodhi, has defended the plans. “The (athletics) track is valuable to us,” he said, according to Pakistani newspaper Dawn. “We are engineers and we will build engineering solutions around it.”
Dr Sarosh added that regulations had been fully adhered to in the deal between the government institution and GSV. “There are regulations that have been followed for public-private partnerships,” he said. “The facility will be ours but it will operate on joint-usage with it being handed to the GSV during the PFL.”
The Pakistan Football League is intended to be a six-team franchise league and was unveiled by GSV last year.
Image: Global Soccer Ventures