PFF case deferred, next hearing on 19th [The News]

PFF case deferred, next hearing on 19th [The News]

KARACHI: The hearing of the case pertaining to Pakistan’s football matters which was scheduled at the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday could not be held because of the number of cases which were tabled before the judge.

Sources said November 19 was given as the next date for hearing. Justice Farrukh Irfan has been hearing the case of the two factions of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) for the last few months.

Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF has hired the services of renowned lawyers Asma Jehangir and Mohammad Afzal Khan, while Sardar Kaleem Ilyas and Zulfiqar Chaudhry are the legal counsels of Arshad Lodhi group.

The LHC’s stay order against the June 30 PFF elections, appointment of administrator for PFF by the LHC, Punjab Football Association’s (PFA) elections and the 2005 national sports policy are some of the matters which the court is hearing.

Faisal is also facing a contempt of court case in which Asma Jehangir is representing him.

FIFA has stated that the Faisal-led PFF would be given two years, till September 2017, to revise the PFF statutes and hold elections.

Teams of various age categories have failed to compete in the international circuit because of the litigation.

Pakistan team’s participation in the SAFF Cup in India in December and South Asian Games in India in February is uncertain because of this.

The infighting started in April when PFA elections became controversial. The PFF banned 20 leading officials of the PFA for forming a parallel body. This prompted the Arshad Lodhi group to convene an extraordinary meeting in Islamabad in June during which the PFF chief Faisal Saleh Hayat was suspended and his secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi was terminated.

Arshad Lodhi and Col Farasat Ali Shah were named as acting PFF president and secretary, respectively.

A few days later, the Arshad Lodhi group occupied the PFF headquarters in Lahore. On June 29, it also got a stay order from the LHC against PFF elections. Despite the court’s order, Faisal’s group held elections at Changla Galli on June 30 and he was elected for the fourth successive time as the PFF chief.

The LHC declared the June 30 elections as null and void and appointed former justice Asad Muneer as administrator of the PFF. He is still working in that capacity.

A three-member fact-finding mission of FIFA held meetings with both groups in early August in Lahore.

Pakistan’s matters were discussed in the September 21 meeting of FIFA’s associations committee and then in its executive committee meetings on September 24 and 25. FIFA stated after the executive committee meeting in Zurich that Faisal-led PFF would be given two years to revise the PFF statutes and hold elections.

Published in The News on 17 November 2015