Grimsby Town’s Otis Khan was blocked by FIFA from playing for Pakistan in the first leg of their World Cup qualifier against Cambodia after it was ruled he was ineligible to play despite having a Pakistani passport.
Khan, who hails from Ashton-under-Lyne and began his career at Sheffield United after playing in Manchester United’s academy, made his debut for Pakistan in a friendly against Mauritius in June. He qualified through his paternal grandfather, Kanwar Jamil Mohammed Khan, who was born in Delhi but moved to Pakistan after Partition in 1947 before settling in Manchester.
Khan, a winger who joined Grimsby from Leyton Orient last year, has six caps and was expected to be part of coach Stephen Constantine’s team that faced Cambodia on Thursday. However, it is understood that despite implementation an interview When he previewed the game on Fifa’s website, he was informed this week that he had been declared ineligible to play.
The Pakistan Football Association said in a statement that FIFA’s decision was “still pending” and hoped for a positive resolution.
“The issue revolves around the specific requirement that one of Otis’ grandparents be born in Pakistan,” the statement said. “In his case, his grandfather was born in Delhi, British India before Partition and subsequently migrated to Pakistan like millions of others. FIFA has neither confirmed his suspension nor finally declared him eligible to play and its decision is still pending.
“We would like to emphasize that we are actively working with FIFA to comprehensively address this issue. Not only is Otis an important member of our team, but he has represented Pakistan with distinction. Our ongoing discussions with FIFA aim to resolve this issue and find a solution that recognizes its legitimacy.”
According to the Government of Pakistan, all “persons who migrated to Pakistan from the territories of the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent before the commencement of the Pakistan Citizenship Act of 1951 shall be declared citizens of Pakistan.” FIFA has been contacted for comment.
Pakistan’s 0-0 draw with Cambodia ended a 12-match losing streak. Due to a series of crises at the PFF and political unrest in the country, they will play their first competitive match in Pakistan since 2011 in the second leg in Islamabad on Tuesday.