Pak players appeal PM, CJP to help stave off FIFA ban [The News]

Pak players appeal PM, CJP to help stave off FIFA ban [The News]

KARACHI: With the Supreme Court set to review the election report of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) on Monday (tomorrow), the national football team has appealed to the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of Pakistan to prevent the country from looming FIFA suspension.

“It will be detrimental for Pakistan football in general and national team in particular if FIFA imposed sanctions on Pakistan once again,” the players said.

“Pakistan team is working hard for next year’s important assignments also including World Cup qualifiers and Olympic qualifiers. If sanctions are imposed then it will be a real damage to us and the whole football,” the players said.

The players said that the sanctions would wipe out even domestic football.

“It will also have a massive impact on local football. The departmental teams featuring in the Premier League will also suffer a lot. These departments have invested heavily in football,” the players said.

“Pakistan football has already suffered a lot during the last three and a half years which also saw FIFA impose sanctions on Pakistan last year,” Denmark-born former Pakistan’s skipper Hasan Bashir has been quoted as saying.

“We are in recovery mode from all the losses incurred by the players, coaches and technical officials associated with this beautiful game. Another halt of the activities will have severe effect on local football and also our national team which has been preparing hard for international assignments,” Hasan said.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa said that both the conflicting parties should keep patience in order to save the country from FIFA’s suspension.

“I request both the parties to keep patience and wait for March 2020 and then the party which will win the PFF elections should run football affairs,” Essa told ‘The News’ from Qatar.

FIFA has already given PFF time until March 2020 with the instructions to revise its constitution and hold fresh elections.

On the other hand, under the instructions of Supreme Court, the PFF elections were held on December 12 in Islamabad.

Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was elected as PFF president. He is yet to take charge of his office.

FIFA has already hinted if the Supreme Court-ordered elections were held Pakistan might face sanctions. Essa said that in case of ban on Pakistan, talent would be destroyed.

“There is an immense talent in the country and it will be damaged if football was stopped due to FIFA’s expected sanctions.

Once FIFA decides, it does it. Even strong nations like Canada and Iran have also been served notices,” Essa said.

He said in case of FIFA’s sanctions, Pakistan will lose the opportunity to feature in the Olympic and World Cup qualifiers next year.

“It will be a huge damage if we missed these two big events,” said Essa, who is also accompanying Pakistan’s squad as assistant coach.

Pakistan team is currently in Doha to prepare for next year’s Olympic and World Cup qualifiers. Brazilian coach Jose Antonio Nogueira is accompanying the side.

After three long years of inactivity, Pakistan returned to international circuit this year when it took part in the

Asian Games and SAFF Cup held in August-September in Indonesia and Dhaka respectively.

Published in The News, 23 December 2018