PFF hopeful of AFC, FIFA recognition [The Nation]

PFF hopeful of AFC, FIFA recognition [The Nation]

by Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD  –  Pakistan Football Federation President Syed Ashfaq Husain Shah has said the federation had held highly positive talk with Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and they were highly hopeful of positive response from AFC and FIFA.

Syed Ashfaq announced this during a press conference held at a local hotel on Tuesday along with vice presidents MNA Malik Amir Dogar, PFF Council member Farzana Rauf and secretary Saqdeeq Sheikh after the first PFF emergency council meeting. Ashfaq said the council members had given complete backing to the decisions made by the elected body.

“We will conduct inter-region football championship next month while we had enough money to run federation affairs for next four to five months. Let me assure all that players will never suffer due to lack of money.”

He alleged that the previous regime had destroyed football and players were badly affected.

Zahir Shah and Amir Dogar had held talks with AFC last month and they are going to attend AFC meeting in Malaysia on April 3 where Pakistan issue will be taken up. “They are convinced things were wrong in Pakistan and we are sure they will send a delegation next month who will meet with Makhdoom Faisal and with elected body of the PFF and we will provide them complete documentary record and we are sure, the AFC and the FIFA will make just and right decision in the best interest of football.”

He said they had sent the case to the FIA as despite court orders Makhdoom Faisal failed to provide us complete details of funds and where they were utilized. “They only handed over one white paper and Rs 170 million while we have fixed deposit around Rs20 million and also getting shops rent of around Rs8 million. We have expenditures of around Rs 1.2 million monthly and soon funds situation will improve.”

“We will conduct Pakistan Super League Football like PSL while we have made plans to ensure round the year football activities and ensuring that our players also play in top leagues.”

When asked about the status of First Pakistan Super Football League announced by Shahid Shinwari, who claims himself as President of Fata Olympic Association, Ashfaq replied: “After the merger of Fata into KP, there is no Fata Olympic Association and I categorically announce that we as federation never own that so-called super league as they never sought an NOC nor bother to inform federation before conducting press conference. As elections are due in provincial associations, we have given them 4 months extension.”

He said the PFF congress has also given approval to number of important committees’ formation, besides giving go ahead to new secretary’s appointment.

He said the Sindh and Balochistan Associations are in opposition but they are contacting us and they want to take all onboard and the federation was working on mandatory activities as per FIFA and AFC constitution.

Ashfaq said things were in highly pathetic condition and they didn’t have magic stick to turn things around overnight. “We are working using all our energies and working without any personal lust and not charging single penny for performing our official duties. We have taken Farzana Rauf in congress.

She had played football and she wants to contribute towards women cause. We will provide her every possible help and ensure girls come out from homes and participate in soccer. Senate Chairman is a personal friend and he had formed committee to help football and federation as he is football lover and had two clubs in Balochistan.

Published in The Nation, 27 March 2019

The News’ Alam Zeb Safi adds:

Ashfaq expects FIFA not to impose sanctions

KARACHI: Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) president Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah has said that he expects a “good” decision about Pakistan’s football from the FIFA Member Associations Committee which meets on April 3.

“I expect a good decision from them. I don’t expect them to go for any tough decision without seeing the ground realities,” Ashfaq told ‘The News’ in a detailed talk after the PFF Congress meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Ashfaq got elected as the PFF chief as a result of the Supreme Court-ordered elections held in December in Islamabad. The Ashfaq-led body then got control of the PFF headquarters in Lahore and accounts as per the apex court’s instructions.

Ashfaq-led PFF is recognised by Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), but not by FIFA, which still recognises Faisal Saleh Hayat as the PFF chief. On April 3, FIFA Member Associations Committee will debate Pakistan’s issue. Because of the conflict, Pakistan has already missed the 2020 AFC Under-23 Championship Qualifiers in Uzbekistan, which were held recently. This was the first stage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers.

When asked whether he would request FIFA Member Associations Committee not to recommend sanctions on Pakistan, Ashfaq said: “There should be no sanctions. They should come and see the ground realities. They should meet the PFF Congress and see the situation in provinces and districts,” Ashfaq said.

“If FIFA and AFC want us to visit there we are ready. We want them to know the exact situation on ground,” the president said. He also said that they had registered a corruption case with the FIA which had summoned Faisal Saleh Hayat, his secretary Col Ahmad Yar Lodhi, Deputy General Secretary and Director Finance on March 28 (tomorrow).

About the MoU with the TouchSky Group, Ashfaq said he would not sign any agreement until the situation became clear. “I will not sign any agreement unless our situation becomes clear. It is important to clear everything hundred percent. Only then will we be in a position to sign a deal with any group,” said Ashfaq, an engineer by profession.

He said that the PFF had decided with consensus that football activities would be started from April 10 throughout the country. “Let’s call it inter-city events or events at the grassroots level. We have decided to go for football activities across the country,” the president said.

He was quick to add that the PFF wanted to keep the players active. “In Ramadan we can also go for a floodlit event as we have facilities in Karachi, Islamabad and Multan,” Ashfaq said.

He said that he would not want intervention from any cordon in Pakistan’s football. He, however, added that the government could support the body. He said the National Challenge Cup had been delayed. “The National Challenge Cup was our priority but we decided to delay it for some time because of the tension between Pakistan and India. Armed forces are also part of the event and it is not the right time to go for organising such an event,” Ashfaq said.

He said that on Tuesday the Congress meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. “Every one was free to speak and this is something very important if you want to develop a good team. The Congress debated 20 points and ratified the ExCo decisions which had been made a few days ago,” Ashfaq said.