Ashfaq, Qureshi in run for PFF top slot [The News/The Nation/Dawn]

Ashfaq, Qureshi in run for PFF top slot [The News/The Nation/Dawn]

KARACHI: The elections of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) will be held at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad on Wednesday (today).

Ashfaq Hussain Shah and Anwar-ul-Haq Qureshi are contesting for the PFF presidency. Amir Salim Rana, the Director General of the Supreme Court human rights wing, will conduct the elections.

Three big guns, Malik Amir Dogar, Sardar Naveed Haider and Syed Zahir Shah, were put out of the race when their nomination papers were rejected the other day.Ashfaq is the brother-in-law of Syed Zahir Shah, a former health minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Ashfaq, who is also the chairman of District Football Association (DFA) Peshawar, has been PFF Congress member since 2011.

Qureshi, from Sindh, is the Congress member of the PFF current body which is recognized by the world football governing body (FIFA).Ashfaq, who is brother-in-law of former PFF Director Clubs and Projects Col Farasat Ali, is widely expected to win the coveted slot. He enjoys the support of Malik Dogar, a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA from Multan and a former PFF Congress member, Naveed Haider, President of Punjab Football Association (PFA), as well as Zahir Shah.

Islamabad Football Association (IFA) chief Chaudhry Mohammad Salim and Pakistan Football Referees Association (PFRA) also support Ashfaq.On Tuesday Dogar, Zahir, Naveed and Salim held a joint press conference in Islamabad and pledged to work together in elections.

Dogar said there was no intervention from the government. “If there had been any interference from the government, our nomination papers would not have been rejected,” he added.Qureshi, from Sindh, is expected to get the support of FIFA-recognised PFF. The PFF chief Faisal Saleh Hayat has stayed away from the elections because according to him he was bound to follow the rules and regulations of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Dogar, Zahir, Naveed and Jan Mohammad Marri (Balochistan) will compete for the three vice-presidents seats.

Those contesting for the eight Executive Committee seats are Ashraf Khan (Punjab), Rizwan Ali (Punjab), Zia-ur-Rehman (Punjab), Abdul Nasir Baloch (Sindh), Jamil Ahmed (Sindh), Mohammad Nouman (KP), Saad Rasool (KP), Zulfiqar Ahmed (KP), Azizullah (Balochistan), Dost Mohammad Khan (Balochistan) and Najeebullah (Balochistan).

Before the elections of the PFF, three women members will be elected. As many as eight women will be in the run for three seats: Farzana Rauf, Fauzia Noureen, Javeria Zafar, Nadia Naqvi, Sadia Sheikh, Tasawar Aziz, Zainab Ali and Kanwal Shozab.

Provinces have three votes each. Islamabad, PFRA, WAPDA, Railways, Army, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Navy, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Police, Higher Education Commission (HEC) and women national champions club (Army) have one vote each.

Published in The News, 12 December 2018

The Nation adds:

Fayyaz claims majority to become PFF President

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) elections will be held today (Wednesday) here at Supreme Court building.

MNA Sardar Amir Dogar, KPFA President Syed Zahir Ali Shah, PFA President Sardar Naved Haider, IFA President Chaudhry Saleem and joint presidential candidate of both groups Syed Fayyaz Shah claimed to have support of 17 out of 23 congress members.

Addressing the press conference here on Tuesday, both groups joined hands against PFF President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat-backed candidates. Sardar Naved said: “I am long associated with sports and had a long struggle for betterment of Pakistan sports. We want to get Pakistan football neat and clean and save it from the family dominance. I had no personal issues with Faisal Saleh Hayat and was always standing with him in positive things, but in last 15 years, he just made tall claims and nothing on ground was done for the betterment of football in Pakistan.”

He said: “Ever since I took over as PFA President, I started working on grassroots level and conducted U-16 and girls championships, which proved to be a huge success and all was done without spending a single penny from federation or association’s pocket. Sports Board Punjab provided all the expenditures. It really hurts to watch Pakistan football lying at 204 out of 207 football playing nations. We are blessed to have more than 60 percent of youth population of the country and we can produce champions in every game.”

He said: “We believe in delivering and if we fail to deliver, we will quit. We have written letters to AFC, FIFA, POA, PSB to send representatives to monitor today’s elections. We are optimistic than FIFA, AFC and others will send their representatives for smooth conduct of PFF elections. Twenty three delegates will first select three female members to complete the PFF Electoral College and then out of 26, we have backing of 20, while eight PFF delegates are very much present in the meeting.”

Sharing his views, KPFA President Syed Zahir Ali Shah said: “I had long association with sports and football. People should come and visit KP and see how much we had worked for uplift of football.” He rubbished the claims made by some quarters that government is interfering in the elections. “If such was the case, then how a sitting government MNA nomination papers were rejected and how my nomination papers were rejected. We have joined hands to take Pakistan football to new heights. We will not only ensure regular tournaments, but exceptional correspondence with FIFA and AFC, as we want to work closely with international football governing bodies.”

When asked whether FIFA and AFC will take away money, they had issued to PFF and what would be the reaction of FIFA as they never accept interference, Zahir replied: “The money was issued to Pakistan, not to a specific person, so nothing will be taken away. We also have good contacts in FIFA and hopefully, they will listen to other side of the story. We are fully backing Syed Fayyaz Shah and we will ensure football and people relate to this wonderful sports get their due right and respect.”

Sharing his views, MNA Amir Dogar said: “I would like to introduce my sports background. It is our second generation in football, as my late father Sardar Salahuddin Dogar, who had great services for Pakistan football. I am very glad that today I am witnessing some old friends of my late father, who had worked together. We have joined hands just for cause of football and it has nothing to do with personal interests. After 15 long years, Pakistan football will witness positive change and all those, who want to contribute towards this game, will take over the reins of the federation.

“It will be a great responsibility on our shoulders to deliver what we are promising. My only aim is to serve like my late father. After his death, now I am carrying on the good work he left. We will work with complete honesty, devotion and utilise all our abilities to the best for football and take it to grassroots level and promote fresh and promising talent,” he added.

Sharing his views, Syed Fayyaz Shah said: “I endorse what Zahir Shah, Amir Dogar, Sardar Naved Haider have already said. I have long association with football and I am grateful to all, who posed confidence in me and nominated my name for president slot. I will try my best to deliver and to take Pakistan football forward.”

Published in The Nation, 12 December 2018

Zahir, Sardar join hands to see the end of Hayat

by Umaid Wasim and Kashif Abbasi

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: It was a question of when rather than if once Sardar Naveed Haider Khan decided to rebel against Faisal Saleh Hayat. All probability was that he would eventually join another dissident, another former ally of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) chief Hayat, Syed Zahir Ali Shah.

On Tuesday, on the eve of the Supreme Court-ordered elections of the country’s football governing body, the alliance was formally announced. Zahir and Sardar are backing Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah in Wednesday’s presidential election in a bid to end Hayat’s 15-year reign as PFF chief.

“We agreed that the first goal is to bring fresh change at the helm of the PFF,” both Zahir and Sardar told Dawn on Sunday night, when the deal was first agreed. “Football in Pakistan needs professionals to take it forward.”

Hayat isn’t contesting the election after global football body FIFA indicated that any election held under the orders of the court would count as “third-party interference” and might lead to potential suspension of the PFF. However, Anwar-ul-Haq Qureshi is the representing Hayat’s group in the election.

Initially, there had been three groups.

Sardar, the president of the Punjab Football Association (PFA), was leading the campaign of Malik Aamir Dogar, a Member of National Assembly from the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Football Association (KPFA) president Zahir, meanwhile, was due to finally stand in a PFF election, three years after he first decided to run for the presidency.

That 2015 election saw Pakistan football mired in crisis and controversy in the coming years with the Supreme Court order for elections in April being welcomed by all parties — including Hayat’s — when it was first announced.

Sardar’s split with Hayat came as a surprise for many. It was his controversial election in 2015 as the PFA chief, with strong backing from Hayat, that sparked the row that saw Zahir go against Hayat.

The first part of the SC order had directed PFA elections to be held. In May, again with strong support from Hayat, he won that election but differences began to develop and he swiftly went his way.

In the lead-up to the election, there had been meetings between the groups of Zahir and Sardar. It had been suggested that with both parties’ grievances with Hayat, they might agree to form a simple majority in the election if would come down to that in order to oust Hayat.

Things changed on Saturday, though, when Zahir, Dogar and Sardar were rendered ineligible to run for the post of president, leaving Ashfaq — the back-up candidate from the Zahir group — as their unanimous choice.

“Our mission is to take football to the highest level in the country,” Ashfaq said at a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, flanked by Zahir, Doger, Sardar and Islamabad Football Association (IFA) president Chaudhry Mohammad Salim. “I have a lot of experience in the game and time will tell what we can deliver.”

He added that once the elections were conducted, they would try to “convince” FIFA.

With FIFA recognising Hayat’s body and having set a roadmap to hold elections by March 2020, convincing FIFA would be key if Ashfaq — who at the time of filing of this report seemingly holds a majority of the votes — wins the election.

The court order, a certified copy of which is available with Dawn, has asked FIFA to accept the result of the election.

“We are in no matter of doubt that the process adopted by the Returning Officer and approved by the apex Court of Pakistan and an election carried out by this Court carries the highest degree of sanctity,” it reads. “… the credibility of this election is beyond doubt. We are sanguine that the results of this election will readily be accepted by all concerned.”

Dogar, meanwhile, said that FIFA should accept the election since PFF secretary general Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi was assisting the returning officer in the election process.

“I want to make it clear that there is no government interference in this election,” he clarified. “If that was the case, my nomination for president wouldn’t have been rejected.”

Doger, who is expected to take up the senior vice-president role according to the power-sharing agreement reached with Zahir’s group, added it was a new beginning for Pakistan football.

“A long tenure is ending,” he said. “… and a new team is coming which is devoted to working for the betterment of the game.”

In an apparent jibe at the Hayat group, Sardar said that the expected change is a breath of fresh air.

“We want to work from grassroots level but it cannot be done by sitting in air conditioned rooms,” he said. “We want to take football to the next level in Pakistan.”

Zahir, meanwhile, urged both FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to accept the result of the election since it was being held in agreement with all contesting groups.

“The game has already suffered a lot,” he said. “And today, we’ve united for one cause. That is to save the game.”

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2018