x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

India to meet Pakistan in football

But before three-legged series to be played in England, Armando Colaco's side will face the UAE in two matches on July 23 and 28.

India will follow up their World Cup 2014 qualifier with UAE by playing Pakistan in a three-match football series in England next month.

Armando Colaco's side will play the UAE in a two-legged fixture on July 23 and 28 before travelling to England for the three games, starting on August 25, in a move designed to tap into support among migrant supporters.

The games will be played in Manchester, Coventry and London, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said in a statement yesterday. "The tour would provide the Indian and Pakistani nationals based in England to witness their native teams in action at the 'Home of Football'," said Ahmer Kunwar, of organisers TouchSky Sports (TSS).

India and Pakistan are lowly footballing nations but maintain a ferocious sporting rivalry in cricket and hockey.

"Playing Pakistan is always special," Praful Patel, the AIFF president, said. "It's a positive sign that we will play a bilateral football series against Pakistan. I'm sure all sporting fans are eagerly looking forward to it."

Venues for the games have yet to be announced.

The last three-match football series between the two nations was in 2005 in Pakistan.