By Umaid Wasim,
KARACHI: FIFA has seemingly decided on taking definitive action towards solving Pakistan’s football crisis.
The controversy brewing in the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) over the last few months has led to the formation of two rivals groups and the resultant infighting has now led to a possible mission being sent by the world’s football governing body.
And it is in contact with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) regarding the matter.
“FIFA and AFC are in contact regarding the situation of the PFF in order to organise a possible mission in the near future,” a FIFA spokesperson told Dawn on Thursday, when the Lahore High Court (LHC) declared the PFF elections held on June 30 by the faction led by Faisal Saleh Hayat null and void.
“Further details will follow in due time,” the spokesperson added.
The decision by FIFA comes after months in which it had been “monitoring the situation” and after PFF senior vice-president Zahir Ali Shah — who was due to challenge Hayat in the PFF polls — had written to the world body asking it to send a “representative to Pakistan to evaluate the situation”. The June 30 elections, declared null and void by LHC on Thursday, were also attended by an AFC observer, Sanjeevan Balasinggam, and although Hayat claimed that his elections were approved by the AFC, distributing a congratulatory letter sent to him by its president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian body told Dawn in a statement that elections needed to be held according to “FIFA/AFC statutes and national laws”.
Later, Hayat’s spokesman also told local media that his election had been accorded by the AFC Executive Committee meeting in Manama earlier this month but the AFC did not comment on that.
There were also rumours circulating in the opposite faction that the Pakistan situation was discussed at FIFA’s Extraordinary Executive Committee meeting in Zurich on Monday. However, a FIFA spokesperson told Dawn it had no update on that.