NC willing to hold PFF elections in ‘six to eight’ months [The News]

NC willing to hold PFF elections in ‘six to eight’ months [The News]

KARACHI: FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee has shown willingness to hold the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) elections in six to eight months if all stakeholders cooperate.

Shahid Khokhar, an NC member, told this to the federal minister for IPC Dr Fehmida Mirza during a meeting with her at Islamabad on Wednesday. The IPC secretary Mohsin Mushtaq and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Col (retd) Asif Zaman also attended the meeting.

According to sources, a detailed discussion was held on various aspects of the football conflict which has brought the sport to a standstill once again following recent suspension of Pakistan by FIFA after the Ashfaq group occupied the PFF headquarters in Lahore.

The Ashfaq group says it took the step because it was disappointed by the way the NC was working. It says the NC failed to take a single step towards holding the elections in its 18 months in office.

FIFA’s position is that it will lift the suspension only after the NC is given complete access to the PFF headquarters and accounts.

The IPC and PSB sources told ‘The News’ that Dr Fehmida is very serious in the resolution of the dispute. She will soon ask the NC to share its complete election roadmap.

Meanwhile, the minister was met with the former PFF Congress member and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health minister Syed Zahir Shah and discussed the matter with him.

Zahir told the minister that NC chairman Haroon Malik should come to Pakistan and get the matter resolved.

Sources said that the minister is also expected to talk to Haroon Malik who is in Canada. The Ministry also plans to invite former PFF president and the AFC vice-president Faisal Saleh Hayat for a meeting.

“We will talk deep with all the stakeholders before reaching a conclusion,” a source told ‘The News’. “Hopefully the matter will be resolved soon,” he added.

“Football is a big game with massive following and huge financial capacity. It should be prevented from being hit by politics,” the source said.

Meanwhile, an NC press release said that Dr Fehmida has said that the government has been strictly following the policy of neutrality. She said, according to the press release, that football has suffered due to this crisis and it should be resolved as soon as possible.

“Players, coaches and referees have been hurt the most due to this conflict. Football is a popular game in Pakistan and the government wants early resolution of the dispute,” she said.

Shahid Khokhar said NC is “willing to conduct elections and ready to take along football stakeholders in Pakistan as election is the only option”.

Published in The News, 6 May 2021