FIFA or no FIFA, football will flourish in Pakistan: Ashfaq [The News]

FIFA or no FIFA, football will flourish in Pakistan: Ashfaq [The News]

KARACHI: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s controversial President Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah has said that they are in consistent touch with FIFA but even if the international body’s suspension persists, football will flourish in Pakistan.

“Even without suspension, Pakistan football revolved around a few footballers — not more than 20 or 30,” Ashfaq told PPI. “But now we want to start Pakistan Super League and will try our best to lift football from grass-roots level,” he added.

Ashfaq was elected President in the last PFF elections held under Supreme Court supervision. But FIFA cried foul for third party interference and set up a Normalisation Committee with a mandate to hold free, fair and transparent elections. But it failed to hold elections even after getting extension for nearly two years.

Recently, Ashfaq-led group controversially took control of the PFF headquarter — the PFF House in Lahore — sending PFF Normalisation Committee officials back home accusing them of embezzlement and lack of sincerity.

Ashfaq said that they would be revealing schedule of football events in the country soon. It would include Pakistan Football Super League that would be similar to Pakistan Super League (cricket).

According to sources, talks are already underway with a private group that brought international footballers such as former Brazilian superstars Ronaldinho, Ricardo Kaka, Portuguese Luis Figo and Welshman Ryan Giggs to Pakistan in the past.

Ashfaq said that FIFA is a great sports body but “unfortunately a few bad people of Pakistan have been able to hijack their attention and people who are sincere to Pakistan football are demonised in their eyes.

“When football thrives in Pakistan, FIFA will recognise Pakistan and lift the suspension,” he added.

“I am ready for a committee made of sincere people who actually wants to hold free, fair and transparent elections,” Ashfaq said.

Published in The News, 28 May 2021