by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: After the much-awaited FIFA elections concluded with the election of Gianni Infantino as president on Friday, football stakeholders across Pakistan started to hope that the new administration would help rid the sport of the power struggle that is plaguing its growth in Pakistan.
“We congratulate Infantino on his win,” NBP coach Nasir Ismail told The Express Tribune. “Mostly, we are expecting the new administration to resolve issues of nations like Pakistan immediately. While we are small footballing nations, we are still affected in the worst way due to the corruption and non-technical decisions made by FIFA’s previous management. We’re pinning our hopes on them. We’ve suffered for almost a year now.”
Ismail was talking about FIFA’s role in solving the power struggle within the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) which has brought football in Pakistan to a complete standstill since the past 10 months.
He further added, “FIFA wants to develop the sport all over the world. Hence, they need to understand that in South Asia, Pakistan has huge potential to develop the sport and they need to assist us in our aims.”
Hayat on solid ground, says PFF official
A PFF official, who travelled with PFF president Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat — one of the chief perpetrators of the PFF feud — to the FIFA Congress in Zurich, said the incumbent president’s position was safe, despite repeated calls by the football fraternity in Pakistan asking for his removal.
According to the new FIFA reforms which were introduced on Friday, the new FIFA president and council members are subject to a term limit but that new reform would not apply to the member nations.
“Everything went well and the term-limit will not be applied on Hayat,” said the official. “That rule is not for the member associations. We are in line with FIFA regulations.”
On the other hand, PFF Director Competitions Rauf Bari, who supports Hayat’s rival group, believes that the decision on Hayat’s presidency still lies with the Lahore High Court, which has taken up the case.
“We aren’t expecting anything from FIFA,” said Bari. “We’re still waiting for the court’s decision. It should be out by next month.”