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Former Liverpool star Emile Heskey will launch Pakistan’s first-ever professional league

Former England player and Liverpool star Emile Heskey is co-launching the first-ever pro league in Pakistan. The 2001 Uefa Cup winner, 46, will be joined by Ballon d’Or winner Michael Owen and other officials from some of the world’s most renowned clubs, including from the Premier League and La Liga, to launch the Pakistan Football League (PFL) next month.

According to The Sun, the franchise league is expected to create a new sports economy, which will create the first inter-city rivalry within the country that has a 250 million population, over 63 million football fans, and 3.4 million registered professional football players.

“PFL is set to offer a huge gateway for players in Pakistan, but we have to get the foundation and grassroots right,” Heskey said. “I am excited to meet the franchise team owners and design a strategic grassroots plan for them, and look forward to discussing the world of opportunities in football in Pakistan.”

A series of high-profile meetings with top Pakistani football officials have been scheduled as part of the launch of the pro league, including a football carnival in Kakri Football Stadium and an event to recognize Pakistan’s football’s unsung heroes.

“Talks over technical, commercial, and merchandise partnerships between international clubs and PFL franchise team owners will then take place behind closed doors,” the British newspaper reported.

“Those are aimed at offering a local to global football universe to the esteemed franchise owners – a must in order to lift the quality and standards of Pakistan’s football meeting the demands of the modern game,” the newspaper further reported.

Heskey currently serves as head of football development for Leicester City Women. In his playing days, he made more than 500 appearances in the Football League and Premier League over an 18-year career.

He represented England in international football and also played for the A-League club Newcastle Jets in Australia. He made his England debut against Hungary in a 1-1 draw in 1999.

However, he lost his place in the squad after UEFA Euro 2004, during which he failed to perform as expected and was the subject of much criticism. He was recalled to the England squad for the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers in September 2007.

Aside from Liverpool, he also played for Leicester City, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Newcastle Jets, and Bolton Wanderers. Heskey formed a successful strike partnership with Owen while in England and Liverpool.

Born in Leicester, Leicestershire, his parents are of Antiguan descent. His father, Tyrone Heskey, was in charge of nightclub security in Leicester. He retired from international football following the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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