By Umaid Wasim,
KARACHI: It seems the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has quelled the threat to Faisal Saleh Hayat’s presidential hot-seat.
Hayat’s 12-year reign as chief of the country’s football governing body was set to come under threat in June’s elections by the government-backed Capt Safdar Awan who was widely-tipped to run for PFF presidency.
But the rules laid down by the PFF for its elections will see him miss out on the criteria he needs to fulfil as a candidate for the June 30 polls and there remains uncertainty whether the rules have been ratified by world’s football governing body FIFA.
“These rules have been passed unanimously by the PFF Congress,” a top PFF official told Dawn on Thursday although he was coy when asked if they had been approved by FIFA. “The rules have been made according to the rules laid down by FIFA and [Asia’s football governing body] AFC.”
FIFA was approached for clarification by Dawn but there was no response till the filing of this report.
The PFF official was adamant that the PFF Congress had made the rules according to the FIFA Statutes (art. 24 par.1) but there remain several transgressions to the rules laid down by the world governing body.
Those rules, rivals allege, are favouring Hayat and do not help an outsider trying to come into Pakistan football and violate basic and fundamental democratic principles.
“The rules were written down late on Wednesday night [when PFF announced key dates for the elections],” a member of the body looking to contest the elections, wishing not to be named, told Dawn on Thursday.
“These rules ensure Hayat stays in power,” he added. “These rules have allayed threats to his fiefdom. The PFF is his fiefdom, he runs the body as if he got it as inheritance. His relatives are into football and he’s running it as his own show.
“Pakistan football hasn’t benefitted a single bit during his 12 years in charge. We’re ranked at a dismal 172nd [in the FIFA rankings] while he keeps going up in FIFA and AFC through his personal connections.”
According to PFF’s criteria for PFF presidency, the candidate “shall have played an active role as member PFF Congress, Member PFF Executive Committee, PFF Elected Official, AFC/FIFA for at least two of the preceding five years before being proposed as a candidate as per PFF record”.
Also, “only PFF Congress members may propose a candidate for the office of President PFF” while the candidate “shall only be valid if it is proposed and seconded by two PFF congress members at least two months before the congress to the PFF secretary.”
All that means a former player or someone who has been working actively for the game — according to FIFA’s Statutes — cannot run if he’s not in the PFF Congress.
The FIFA Statutes for eligibility, meanwhile, state: “Only the Members may propose candidatures for the office of FIFA President.
“A candidature for the office of FIFA President shall only be valid if supported by a total of at least five Members. Members must notify the FIFA general secretariat, in writing, of a candidature for the FIFA presidency at least four months before the start of the Congress, together with the declarations of support of at least five Members.
“A candidate for the office of FIFA President shall have played an active role in Association Football (e.g. as a Player or an Official within FIFA, a Confederation or an Association, etc.) for two of the last five years before being proposed as a candidate.”