‘FIFA, AFC image at stake in Pakistan’ [The Nation]

‘FIFA, AFC image at stake in Pakistan’ [The Nation]

LAHORE   –  Former Balochistan Football Association (BFA) Secretary Saeed Khan Taqqo has said that the inexperienced and incompetent officials of Pakistan Football Federation Normalization Committee (PFF NC) have put the image of FIFA and AFC at stake in Pakistan. 

Taqqo told The Nation that since 2015, on the screen of football in Pakistan, one could only watch disaster, political wrangling, and legal wars instead of the game in action. FIFA with the consultation of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had formed the PFF NC to end this and to bring the situation to normal. The NC took control of the PFF affairs in September 2019 to hold fresh elections of the PFF, which was the most significant feature of the mandate given to the PFF NC by FIFA. 

“In Pakistan, football has remained so unlucky that the people affiliated to it including players, officials, coaches, referees and fans, can only raise their hands and pray to Almighty for something better to happen in the prevailing situation. The football fraternity right now is in grief and sorrow seeing the current situation of Pakistan football. It is a misery that against all democratic norms, no respect is being shown to the real mandate and the genuine stakeholders are being kept out of the entire political arena,” he asserted. 

“After discussing the fragile political situation of the game in Pakistan, anyone would conclude in the same way that the NC members, who have been given command by FIFA, are not only inexperienced and incapable but have seriously caused to make a strong impression that it has bias in favour of one group. At this stage, it is still a war of words and distrust, but, as the election approaches, it may turn into a dangerous physical situation,” he said. 

“Many key players from Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh have already expressed the fear that the way this NC has treated the sensitive matters due to lack of experience, capacity and bias, it may lead to something unprecedented. Balochistan is a tribal society and we have made written complaints to FIFA and AFC about the misdeeds of the PFF NC, which could lead to bloodshed,” Taqqo added. 

“The PFF NC officials derive all its power and authority from FIFA and AFC and they openly say that the NC is not answerable to anyone in Pakistan but only to FIFA which is their employer, hence the NC is taking all the decisions on the instructions and guidelines from FIFA and AFC. This has compelled the genuine football stakeholders of Pakistan to raise their fingers towards FIFA and AFC. After millions of rupees have been spent on the PFF NC and one year of thousands of Pakistani footballers has gone wasted, the FIFA and AFC has started losing faith and trust among the football fraternity in Pakistan,” he said. 

“The FIFA and AFC must know that this will certainly not serve the purpose of bringing Pakistan’s football to normal. The NC members, media and corporate sector would lose nothing, but the image and perception of FIFA and AFC will be badly tarnished, which will be an irreparable damage for football in Pakistan,” Taqqo concluded.

Published in The Nation, 23 October 2020