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Host crisis forces Games call-off

Islamabad: The thrice-postponed ninth South Asian Federation (SAF) Games were cancelled Thursday after Pakistan expressed its inability to host the regional multi-event competition.

The executive council meeting of the South Asian Sports Federation (SASF), which was held in Rawalpindi, has accepted Pakistan’s decision.

The 10th edition of the Games will be hosted by Colombo in 2005.

“We do not know when the political situation is going to improve internationally. That is the reason why Pakistan suggested the cancellation of the 9th Games which has been accepted by SASF,” Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Wajid Ali Shah told reporters after the meeting.

SAF Games organising committee chairman Arif Hasan said Pakistan was deeply disappointed with the turn of events.

“The cancellation will result in loss amounting between Rs 62 and 70 million,” he said.

The SASF meeting, which was called to decide on the future of the jinxed Games, originally scheduled to be held in 2001, was attended by representatives of only two of the seven-member Saarc countries besides Pakistan — Nepal and Sri Lanka.

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