Ashfaq hopes FIFA mission decides in “Pakistan’s favour” [Dawn]

Ashfaq hopes FIFA mission decides in “Pakistan’s favour” [Dawn]

LAHORE: Gearing up to meet the joint fact-finding mission by global football body FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah — the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) chief recognised in the country — is hoping for a “decision in Pakistan’s favour”.

The FIFA-AFC mission will meet the Ashfaq-led PFF on May 28 after arriving in the country on the midnight of May 27, said the PFF chief who was elected in an election ordered by the Supreme Court in December last year.

FIFA still recognises Faisal Saleh Hayat as Pakistan’s football chief and the mission is aimed to resolve the situation that has afflicted the country’s football over the last three years.

Ashfaq said that the PFF headquarters would not be the venue of the meeting, which will be finalised by the visiting delegation.

“We have no objection wherever the delegation arranges the meeting, we will go anywhere for our right and to present our case in a strong way,” Ashfaq said on Friday. “We have prepared a strong case to defend it before the FIFA/AFC delegation and hopefully a better decision in Pakistan’s favour will come out.”

The split between two factions warring for control of the country’s football has seen two separate training camps for the national team ahead of next month’s first-round 2022 World Cup qualifier against Cambodia.

The Ashfaq-led PFF is holding the camp in Islamabad while Hayat’s faction is organising it in Bahrain.

Hayat’s group has also shifted the home leg of the qualifier to Doha — a move that FIFA has sanctioned.

“He [Hayat] has shifted the game because he isn’t in power in the country,” Ashfaq said. “The match should be held in Pakistan in what would be a great honour for the country.”

Ashfaq added that Hayat not accepting the results of the PFF polls held by the SC was a “contempt of court” and his body should be recognised as the genuine representative of the country.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2019