by Azhar Khan
Lahore – Reinstated Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) president Makhdoon Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has vowed to raise Pakistan football from scratch again and get its FIFA membership restored soon.
Faisal was elected PFF president during elections held on June 30, 2015 under the watchful eyes of FIFA and AFC representatives and were duly approved by both the football governing bodies. But a bunch of government-sponsored people not only occupied the FIFA Football House here, but also took hold of all the physical and financial matters of the federation on the orders of honourable court, which was against the statutes of FIFA, which termed it third-party interference and after giving warnings time and again, finally suspended the PFF saying it can only be reinstated, when the physical and financial matters of the federation would be handed over to FIFA-recognised Faisal-led PFF.
Now finally justice prevailed and the Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench has upheld the PFF elections held on June 30, 2015 and reinstated Faisal Saleh Hayat as the PFF president. The bench has also asked the PFF administrator to relinquish charge immediately and hand over the complete affairs of the PFF to the elected PFF body. Furthermore, they have restrained the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) from interfering in the federation’s affairs.
Talking exclusively to The Nation, Faisal said: “Justice finally prevails. First of all, I am grateful to Almighty and then PFF congress members, staff, divisional football associations and the independent media, who stood fast against all pressures and supporting the right cause throughout the difficult period.”
He said the PFF had worked hard and left no stone unturned for the promotion and development of football in Pakistan during the last decade, but the stoppage of football since the last 3 years due to interference in the PFF affairs has spoiled all such efforts. “We will have to again start the football development process from scratch.
The PSB used to give a meager grant to the Pakistan Football Federation which was also stopped some six years ago before the occupation of the Football House. But it was time and again clarified by the PFF officials that they weren’t bound to follow sports policy as they had to follow only FIFA statues. Faisal , while lauding the decision of LHC division bench, which barred the PSB from interfering in the federation’s affairs, said: “The PFF is a private body which is bound to its own statutes in line with FIFA statutes. Hence, the PSB cannot compel us to follow its sports policy.”
The PFF chief also thanked the presidents of FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) at this occasion and said: “I am grateful to FIFA president Infantino Gianni and AFC chief Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa for their cemented support, they provided to the PFF and the way they continuously endorsed the principal stand of the PFF. We are looking forward to restart all football activities very soon and hope their patronage will help us achieve our goals gradually.”
When he was pointed out towards PFF suspension and asked when the federation would get out of it, Faisal said: “Soon after taking over the Football House and physical and financial matters of the PFF, we will write to FIFA about reinstating the federation. After complying with FIFA orders, it is hoped that Pakistan Football Federation will be reinstated soon.”
When asked about his immediate plans, which he is going to implement soon after taking over the federation, the PFF chief said: “First of all, I will take into confidence all the stakeholders to start our domestic activities, as I don’t want to keep them further away from the sport,” he said. “The previous three years have proved disastrous for Pakistan football, but we will take all measures to bring Pakistan football back on the right track,” Faisal concluded.