A Pakistani journalist is drawing severe backlash on social media after he objected to the national women’s football team players wearing shorts during the SAFF Championship. He raised his objection soon after Pakistan had beaten Maldives by seven goals in the tournament in Kathmandu. Participating in an international event after a long gap, this was the Pakistan team’s first win in the championship in eight years; however, the reporter covering the tournament preferred to focus on the players’ kits.
“As you know we belong to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which is a Islamic country, I want to ask why are these girls wearing shorts, not leggings,” the reporter asked the team’s manager and other officials at the post-match press conference.
Many people came down hard on the reporter for focussing on the players’ clothes and not their achievements, while praising British-Pakistani footballer Nadia Khan for scoring four of the seven goals.
The national team coach, Adeel Rizki, clearly taken aback by the question, said that in sports “one has to be progressive”.
“We have never tried to stop anyone as far as the uniform is concerned, it’s something we don’t control,” he explained.
The video sparked a debate on social media about the reporter’s line of questioning. Many were justifiably angry at the regressing remark from the journalist:
TV host and RJ Anoushey Ashraf, squash player, Noorena Shams and many others came out in strong support of the players and slammed the reporter for his “regressive mindset.”
Others also criticised the reporter, noting that if he has problems watching the players in shorts he shouldn’t be covering the event.
Football activities have resumed in Pakistan only recently with the FIFA finally allowing its teams to participate in international and regional events after a time frame for fresh elections was agreed upon by the country’s warring football bodies.
(With inputs from wire)