by Azhar Khan
LAHORE-Former Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has said that the incompetent, corrupt and biased people have been destroying Pakistan football.
Talking to The Nation here on Sunday, Makhdoom Faisal, who is also Vice President of AFC, said: “When I had taken over the Pakistan Football Federation, it was just a briefcase federation with no fund and office. Gradually, it was well-established with full of funds, which were utilised on the betterment and promotion of players and infrastructure and with the hard work and sincere efforts, Pakistan football started getting recognition at international level. Pakistani players started signing international leagues and Pakistani officials got chances to officiate international competitions.
“When everything was going well and Pakistani footballers were engaged in football activities throughout the year and bound to improve their position at Asia level, all of a sudden, a group of corrupt and incompetent people, with the help of government, occupied the FIFA House in 2015, which laid the foundation of decline of Pakistan football. After that, they remained busy in looting the FIFA and AFC funds in different eras and through different means, and never thought about Pakistani footballers and football, but continued fulfilling their nefarious designs,” he added.
“Until and unless such occupiers are taken to task and government and world governing bodies take stern actions against them, who are the real destroyer of the game, Pakistan football can’t progress. The genuine stakeholders must be handed over the responsibility of running the PFF affairs in a fair and better way to help Pakistan football start progressing again,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the sources revealed that the real drama with Pakistan football started when the Zahir-Shah group had taken over the reign of the PFF in 2015 with the aim of looting all the FIFA and AFC funds. They remained successful in achieving their goals, as when the Faisal-led PFF handed over the charge to Ashfaq Hussain, there were around Rs 25 crore in the accounts.
They further revealed that Faisal-led group conducted the National Women Championship engaging top women teams of the country in just Rs 4 million in 2018 but later, Normalisation Committee Chairman Hamza Khan organized the same championship with low-ranked teams in Rs 20 million in 2020 while NC Head Haroon Malik has now spent Rs 25 million on this year’s National Women Championship.
The sources said that the real problem started when the FIFA and AFC remained silence when the Normalisation Committee was installed and they kept on looting the funds with biased approach towards the PFF elections but the criminal silence of FIFA and AFC continued. Even the corruption of NC Head Hamza Khan was proved and serious allegations were levelled against him by the Secretary General Manizeh Zainli but instead of taking stern action against him, FIFA and AFC just replaced him with Haroon Malik.
They further said that when the Zahir Shah group took over the PFF, the FIFA and AFC didn’t take any action against these grabbers rather remained silent, which slowly and gradually kept on hollowing out Pakistan football and now it is on the verge of decline.
Now if the FIFA suspends the PFF after the action of Ashfaq Hussain group, it isn’t the right solution rather these world football bodies must take stern actions against the corrupt, biased and incompetent people, who tried their best to destroy Pakistan football by looting it and ban these elements for life. They should also hand over the reign of the PFF to the genuine stakeholders, who will use their expertise to put Pakistan football on right track again and engage Pakistani players and officials in national and international activities.
The FIFA and AFC should also own the wrong decisions taken in the appointment of Normalisation Committee in September 2019 and January 2021. They also need to fully explain why action hasn’t been taken against Hamza Khan, who was forced to resign on account of his financial, moral and legal malpractices and blatant corrupt practices. The ball now is in the court of FIFA and AFC and they need to show that they genuinely care about a football country with a population of around 220 million through stern and visibly transparent actions, which they have failed to do till now, the sources concluded.