By Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: The federal minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Wednesday made it clear that his ministry was not interfering in the affairs of football but warned if elections of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) were not held in a transparent manner the ministry will have to take action.
“If the elections were not conducted in a fair manner then we will have to step in and impose ad-hoc. And we will also officially inform FIFA about that,” Pirzada told ‘The News’ from Islamabad.
The minister is really perturbed by the football crisis which is heading towards an ugly clash.
“I am really disturbed by the situation. The PFF is also responsible for the way it handled the things. Arshad Lodhi Group had won the Punjab Football Association’s (PFA) elections and they still hold the majority. They should have been accepted as winners,” said Pirzada, who himself had been associated with the PFA as senior vice-president.
“The PFF are also breaking laws. Whenever they see that they will lose in an area they violate rules,” Pirzada alleged.
Pirzada was also not happy with the way some non-actors also including Sports Board Punjab (SBP) interfered in the matter, who had no link with the football affairs.
However, the minister was quick to add that his ministry was very cautious and monitoring the situation.
“We have learnt a lesson from our matter with International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding Pakistan Olympic Association (POA). If we interfere in football affairs we will be blamed. And we don’t want to do this,” he reiterated.
The minister advised the stakeholders to resolve their dispute by taking it into international forum.
“I think FIFA should interfere without any delay. The PFF and oppositions should approach FIFA for the purpose and I am confident FIFA would be able to resolve the dispute amicably. FIFA should come and hold the PFF elections under their supervision,” Pirzada said.
The minister said that the IPC was trying to make improvement in rules in order to minimise the emergence of such issues.
“On minor issues people go to courts and we are trying to improve rules in order to tackle such matter,” Pirzada said.
Meanwhile, PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat made it clear that Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) could not impose ad-hoc on PFF.
“They cannot impose ad-hoc on us as we are not affiliated with the PSB. We have challenged the sports policy of the government and we don’t accept PSB,” Faisal told ‘The News’.
He said the PFF elections would be held in transparent way in the presence of observers of FIFA, AFC and POA.
PFF will be going to hold its elections on June 30 at Changla Gali. Faisal Saleh Hayat will be going to face a stiff challenge from former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah who is a long-serving PFF congress member.