Zahir cleared to contest Hayat for PFF presidency [Dawn]

Zahir cleared to contest Hayat for PFF presidency [Dawn]

KARACHI: Zahir Ali Shah remains in contention to challenge incumbent Faisal Saleh Hayat for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) presidency.

The PFF issued the results of the scrutiny of candidates for the June 30 elections on its website on Wednesday with Zahir having been vetted and cleared to contest against Hayat who has occupied the PFF hot-seat for the last 12 years.

However, two of the three vice-presidents nominated by his panel — Arshad Khan Lodhi and Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah — were rejected.

Only Shahid Nadeem of his panel remains as he contests for one of three vice-president slots against Hayat-backed Khadim Ali Shah, Sardar Naveed Haider Khan and Rubina Irfan.

It means Zahir faces a conundrum if he’s elected PFF chief in the polls with likelihood of having one or none of his nominated vice-presidents.

While Ashfaq’s nomination was rejected because PFF Congress Member Mohammad Noman had proposed both him and Shahid, Arshad was rejected for going to court in the aftermath of the controversial Punjab Football Association (PFA) elections.

It was those polls which later resulted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Football Association (KPFA) chief Zahir, a former Hayat ally, turning the tables on the PFF president.

Former PFA chief Arshad filed a petition against the PFF office bearers in the Lahore High Court (LHC) after Sardar Naveed was elected president in the polls on April 17.

Arshad claimed the polls were never held — a view upheld by then-PFF Director Member Associations and Projects Col Farasat Ali Shah, who was also the PFF Electoral Committee secretary before being terminated from his post on Tuesday for going against the country’s football governing body.

Zahir is the brother-in-law of Farasat and had earlier told Dawn that events of that day saw him go against Hayat.

Sardar Naveed, meanwhile, reaffirmed to Dawn on Wednesday that he “is the PFA chief who has now been approved by both FIFA and AFC.” Members of Zahir’s camp, meanwhile, are accusing Hayat of swinging the votes for the PFF elections in his favour by taking several members of the PFF Congress to the AFC Congress in Bahrain last month.

The PFF maintains those trips were funded by the Bahrain Football Association.