AFC president Sheikh Salman (Getty)

(WFI) Asian football chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has condemned the terrorists behind a bomb explosion in the Pakistani city of Karachi which killed 11 football fans.

The bomb went off beside a football field following a late-night tournament between local sides on Wednesday. Many of the victims and two dozen injured in the terror blast were boys aged between 6 and 15 years old who had been watching the game from the sidelines. According to reports, provincial minister Javed Naghori was the target. He escaped unharmed. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sheikh Salman issued a statement on Friday calling for an end to the attacks on sports events, especially football, on the continent.

Expressing deep anguish at the death of the football fans in the bomb blast after the four-a-side Ramadan tournament final, the Bahraini said that sport should be used as a tool to promote peace.

“Football is popular around the world and it brings people together. It’s shameful to attack those who are enjoying a football game,” he said.

“Some of the innocent fans who lost their lives would have been budding footballers. Football has long given solace to people around the globe.”

He added: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to convey my
deepest sympathy and condolences to the friends and families of those
who lost their lives in Karachi.”

The AFC president also confirmed that the confederation had decided to hand the 2014 AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers to Pakistan due to the rising popularity of the sport in the South Asian country.

“We are following the rise in popularity of football in Pakistan and we are confident that the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers will give a further boost to the efforts carried out by the Pakistan Football Federation,” he said.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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