FIFA extends PFF NC mandate for three months [The News]

FIFA extends PFF NC mandate for three months [The News]

KARACHI: FIFA on Thursday extended the mandate of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee for three months.

The mandate expired on June 30 and now in the light of the new decision of the world body NC will work until September 30, 2021.

“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has today decided to extend the mandate of the normalisation committee of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), which was due to expire on 30 June 2021, until 30 September 2021,” FIFA said in a statement on Thursday.

FIFA’s decision to extend the NC mandate has been prompted by the efforts being made at different levels to get the group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah to vacate the PFF headquarters which it occupied in March this year after which FIFA suspended Pakistan on April 7.

“The Bureau took note that, since the suspension of the PFF, the normalisation committee has been working relentlessly in an effort to meet the criteria for the suspension to be lifted, which will occur when the PFF’s premises, accounts, administration and communication channels are once again under the normalisation committee’s full control and the committee can continue to carry out its mandate without further hindrance,” FIFA said. “At present, however, the PFF’s premises continue to be occupied and the PFF therefore remains suspended.

“On that basis, the Bureau deemed that the extension was necessary in order to allow the administrative and legal efforts on the ground to continue, with the aim of meeting the requirements for the PFF’s suspension to be lifted, thus enabling the normalisation committee to perform the tasks under its mandate,” the statement said.

The IPC minister Dr Fehmida Mirza has been playing a role of mediator, trying to persuade the Ashfaq group to vacate the PFF headquarters.

She has already held meetings with a number of stakeholders and NC members.

This correspondent has learnt that the IPC minister is expected to invite NC’s members again for a meeting soon. Due to poor monitoring from FIFA and AFC, the NC was seen deviating from its mandate of holding the PFF elections. NC members enjoyed huge privileges but it could not take even a single step towards holding the PFF elections despite having been in office for 18 months before Pakistan’s suspension.

This is the third time that NC’s mandate has been extended. FIFA had installed NC in September 2019, giving it a nine-month mandate until June 2020 which was extended until December’s end 2020. And when NC failed again to do anything, the mandate was further extended until June 30, 2021.

Meanwhile, in a statement NC has appealed to the Prime Minister Imran Khan to play his role and ensure lifting Pakistan’s suspension by getting the PFF headquarters vacated by what it calls the “illegal occupants”.

The NC said that the Ashfaq group’s occupation of the PFF headquarters is the cause behind Pakistan’s suspension.

A few weeks ago, Ashfaq group made a startling disclosure at a news conference in Lahore, saying it had got hold of audio tapes of current and previous NC members, officials of the PFF Secretariat and some other people who were trying to manipulate the PFF elections. They shared those recordings with FIFA. The group says it cannot accept NC chairman Haroon Malik.

“How can we accept Haroon?” Ashfaq, the PFF president, said while talking to ‘The News’. “We have already shared all the audio recordings with FIFA and they should check that. How can we trust such people?” Ashfaq said. “Yes, we are open to talk to FIFA and AFC at any time,” Ashfaq said.

Published in The News, 2 July 2021