PFF-PSB case enters complicated stage [The News]

PFF-PSB case enters complicated stage [The News]

KARACHI: A legal counsel of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) on Thursday said if the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision in the case of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in which it had challenged the legal entity of the Board went against the PSB it would be disastrous for the country’s sports.

“The case has reached a very complicated stage and the relevant parties are giving their arguments. It has emerged as an important case and its implications would be major if it goes against the PSB,” the legal counsel told ‘The News’ on Thursday.

“If the decision goes against the Board then it will also affect other sectors as there were so many other ordinances like this which would cease their legal status,” the counsel added

The PFF had challenged the PSB’s legal status on the plea that the Board had been established through the Sports Development and Control Ordinance 1962 which was promulgated during the reign of General Ayub Khan.

The PFF is of the view that the PSB’s existence has not been given a legal cover. The PSB counsel said that the same ordinance had protection in 1962 and 1973 constitutions. It also has protection in the 18th amendment and so the PSB is working under a law, the counsel added.

In this case, which is being heard by a double bench of the LHC, other than the PSB, the ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), Federal Law Ministry, Sports Board Punjab (SBP) and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) are also the respondents, sources said.

On Monday and Tuesday, a hot debate was held on this issue which would be continued coming Monday.

In summer this year, the single bench of the LHC had dismissed the PFF petitions it had filed against the PSB and Pakistan government. However, the PFF then went for an intra-court appeal and the Chief Justice of LHC constituted a special bench for the purpose to dispose off the crucial matter.

An insider, who listened to the arguments of the counsels of various parties the other day, said that the PFF counsel raised the issue what would be the legal status of the PSB if sports were devolved and became a provincial subject.

The Board’s legal representatives argued that the Board had been using its authority under a legal cover it has got despite devolution of sports to the provinces as without the Board’s presence it was difficult to run the sports affairs of the country. The existence of the IPC Ministry also came under discussion, sources informed.

Renowned lawyer Asma Jehangir has been dealing with the case on behalf of the PFF.

Sources said that the LHC was expected to thoroughly deal the case before giving its final verdict keeping in view the importance of the issue which could leave serious implications on the country’s sports structure.

The PFF had to challenge the entity of the Board in the wake of the national sports policy which does not allow any president, secretary and treasurer of a federation to serve for more than two four-year tenures.

Sources said that after handling this major case, the double bench would then deal with the other cases of football which are already pending.

The LHC has already declared the PFF’s June 30, 2015 elections null and void and has appointed former justice Asad Muneer as PFF administrator who is still working in the capacity.

Because of the issue, football has been inactive in Pakistan for the last 19 months. The country has missed several international events as the accounts of the PFF are also frozen.

The world football governing body (FIFA) has already given two years to Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF until September 2017 with the instructions that the federation will revise its constitution and hold fresh elections. But because of the legal issues, nothing has been done yet.

Published in The News, 23 December 2016