FIFA asks Pak govt to substantiate ‘rigging’ accusation [The News]

FIFA asks Pak govt to substantiate ‘rigging’ accusation [The News]

KARACHI: FIFA has asked Pakistan government to provide evidence to substantiate its claims that the PFF NC has been trying to support some of the candidates for the upcoming PFF elections.

“We ask you to please provide any evidence at your disposal which suggests that the PFF NC has been endeavouring to support selected candidates for the upcoming elections,” the FIFA letter said. A copy of the FIFA letter to IPC minister is with this correspondent.

In an August 18 letter to the world body, the IPC minister Dr Fehmida Mirza had tried to attract the attention of FIFA towards some alleged irregularities in the PFF electoral process.

Meanwhile, a FIFA spokesperson shared with ‘The News’ on September 9 some of the contents of its reply to the Pakistan government. “We can confirm that we received a letter from Pakistan’s government. In our answer submitted on 4 September, FIFA and the AFC confirmed their full support of the PFF Normalisation Committee, which has made important progress in key areas of its mandate. We further pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the ability of the committee to continue its work at the same speed,” the FIFA spokesperson said.

“Furthermore, FIFA and the AFC asked Pakistan’s government to submit any additional information that they may deem necessary to share. Finally, FIFA also confirmed that due to travel restrictions and the health risks arising from the global pandemic, no FIFA delegation may currently be dispatched to Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.

Dr Fehmida in her letter to FIFA on August 18 said: “In the past ten months since the appointment of the NC members, the Government of Pakistan has received numerous complaints on the various steps taken and decisions implemented by the NC. As per our reckoning, the most serious complaint was that the NC is not working within the parameters of its mandate. The NC has been endeavouring to support some selected candidates in forth coming elections and thus its neutrality has been compromised, which amounts to pre-election rigging,” the letter said.

“I must convey to you that Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, is deeply concerned about the prevailing situation and has instructed me to approach you to ensure corrective measures for restoration of football game in Pakistan,” the letter said. “Pursuant to the position stated above, I request you to depute senior personnel from FIFA to visit Pakistan as travel restrictions owing to the Covid-19 pandemic are now relieved, in order to engage in a critical dialogue with the relevant stakeholders of PFF including the PSB within the framework of Olympic charter and FIFA statues for amicable settlement.

“I assure my fullest cooperation to your representative as and when deputed for such assignment.”

Published in The News, 12 September 2020