‘FIFA should take action on PFF corruption’ [Dawn]

‘FIFA should take action on PFF corruption’ [Dawn]

by Umaid Wasim

KARACHI: Sardar Naveed Haider Khan has taken upon himself to becoming a Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) whistleblower.

Three months after an explosive news conference in which he detailed how the Asian Football Confederation funded the lawyers representing the PFF in its long-running legal case, he was at it again on Sunday.

With the two-member FIFA/AFC delegation interviewing candidates in Lahore for the Normalisation Committee for the PFF, Sardar Naveed appealed to the global football body to take action on the corruption in the country’s football governing body during the reign of Faisal Saleh Hayat — especially during the last four years.

Sardar Naveed, formerly a Hayat ally who parted ways when the Supreme Court announced elections last year, presented more documents as he alleged that the AFC had made further payments to the PFF which were questionable.

“There has been rampant corruption and no action has been taken,” he told Dawn after the news conference in Lahore. “There are a series of payments which raise questions on the AFC’s role as well.”

Documents shared with Dawn showed the AFC Financial Assistance Programme (AFAP) budget prepared by the PFF for 2016 showing US$27,190 earmarked for the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) in the third quarter.

“They showed the PPFL which was not held that year,” Sardar alleged.

The document also shows $6500 for the Under-16 Inter-club Girls’ Football Championship, $7500 for the National Women’s Football Championship and $15000 for the Pakistan Women’s Football League.

“None of these events took place yet they took the money from the PFF,” he added.

He also alleged that the PFF had made a fake rental agreement on a property that didn’t belong to the person who was paid for it.

“The office the Hayat group used as the PFF headquarters when they were ousted from the PFF house on the orders of the Supreme Court, did not belong to Haider Nawaz Bajwa, who was paid directly by the AFC around $38275 for a year and a half,” Sardar said.

“The property originally belonged to late Justice Zakiuddin Pal and is now owned by his son Hamid Pal. Hamid had rented it out to Hayat’s relative Haider Kharal, whose business partner is Bajwa. The rental agreement was prepared in one day.

“I’m in touch with the owners who reside in the United States and have no idea that the property had been rented out further. Did the AFC not check this out before it transferred the funds? It even transferred funds backdated.”

Sardar said he was happy that the FIFA website had finally removed the name of Hayat as the PFF president from its website with the Normalisation Committee set to take over.

In a landmark decision at the end of June, FIFA declared it was establishing a Normalisation Committee which will be responsible for conducting fresh PFF presidential polls and, in effect, ending the four-year crisis that has engulfed Pakistan football.

Hayat has been the PFF chief since 2003 but isn’t recognised domestically. That title belongs to Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah who was elected as PFF president in an election held on the orders of the Supreme Court in December last year. That election came at the culmination of a nearly four-year legal battle over the control of Pakistan’s football but wasn’t accepted by FIFA.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2019