FIFA won’t fund PFF till resolution of election dispute, SC told [Dawn]

FIFA won’t fund PFF till resolution of election dispute, SC told [Dawn]

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was told on Monday that the global football body, Fifa, has refused to fund the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) until an election dispute between two factions of the local sports alliance is resolved.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, had taken up an appeal, filed by the PFF challenging a June 30 Lahore High Court order, which had restrained the federation from holding elections.

The restraining order was issued by the high court a few days before the Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF was set to hold an electoral meeting in Changla Gali, while the Zahir Shah Group was due to meet in Lahore to elect a new president.

Despite the stay order, Faisal Saleh Hayat went ahead with an electoral exercise at Changla Gali and got himself elected PFF president.

On Monday, rights activist Asma Jahangir, appearing on behalf of the PFF, read out a letter from Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke, where the association had excused itself from assisting PFF in terms of finances, though assuring that the federation will discuss the PFF’s situation in detail in a meeting on Sept 21.

But in the meantime, the letter had stated, Fifa would limit itself to corresponding through PFF’s official representatives, which are the president and the general secretary.

Fifa’s letter had come in response to an earlier communication by retired Justice Asad Munir, who was appointed PFF administrator by the high court. Justice Munir had requested Fifa to release Pakistan’s allotted funds on a priority basis so that PFF could arrange the Pakistan Premier League (PPL) from Oct 2014 to Jan 2016; the PFF League to be held in Nov 2015; the Women’s National Championships in Dec 2015; participate in the South Asian Games in India; and conduct fitness tests for Fifa referees in Oct 2015.

The letter had stated that PFF did not have sufficient financial support to sustain these approved activities, including national and international competitions.

Ms Jahangir argued that the high court had overstepped its jurisdiction by staying the elections.

The matter has been pending since 2012, the counsel pleaded, adding that no institution would come to the PFF’s aid if the apex court did not grant any relief to the federation.

But the Supreme Court decided to dispose of the petition on the grounds that it would not like to intervene in a matter that is already pending before the high court, because any intervention will mean influencing the proceedings there.

The apex court, however, expressed the confidence that the high court would decide the dispute as swiftly as possible.

Published by Nasir Iqbal in Dawn, September 22nd, 2015