No more playing with soccer fate please: Ashfaq [The News]

No more playing with soccer fate please: Ashfaq [The News]

by Abdul Mohi Shah

ISLAMABAD: As yet another three-months extension of the Normalization Committee (NC) ends Thursday (tomorrow) Engineer Syed Ashfaq Hussain, President Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has lamented the lost time, calling on all the stakeholders including government to come forward and help the game stand on its feet.

“FIFA now must pick one member from each unit- -four provinces and Islamabad to form an election committee and hold the PFF elections instead of extending any tenure of the exciting NC. We can talk about holding free and fair PFF elections but we cannot allow anyone to play with soccer fortunes in the country,” Syed Ashfaq, said during his visit to The News offices in Islamabad Tuesday along with Syed Sharafat Hussain Bokhari, Sikandar Khattak.

He said that all these months the Ministry of IPC had been promising to settle the issue. “The Prime Minister and even President of Pakistan has given clear directives to the Ministry to help settle the football matters by making sure to hold free and fair elections. Nothing however has been done so far and no real step has been taken by the IPC Ministry to streamline the affairs.”

Syed Ashfaq said that it had been almost two years now that NC was at the helm of affairs. “FIFA has given them nine months time to conduct elections. For two long years nothing has been done. The government must take notice of this and instead of hanging on further, an election committee should be formed consisting of one member each from all the five units (as these were approved by FIFA) to conduct elections.”

The PFF President said that his tenure expires in late 2022. “We have already started the process to conduct fresh elections. These elections will be conducted under the list approved by FIFA in 2015. All stakeholders must come forward and help the election committee conduct free and fair elections. Nothing has been done despite clear instructions by the PM to solve the football issue. We have already generated enough activities in the country and would make an effort to utilize the remaining time in the best possible way till the fresh election. Our only aim is to promote the game at all levels.”

Syed Ashfaq Hussain admitted that there has never been any dearth of soccer talent in the country. “What we lack is a system and will to take the game to new heights. Look at the NC members, drawing heavy salaries and doing nothing in response. We don’t need such officials to run the system. Football requires passion and a selfless approach. I can promise you that I will take Pakistan football to new heights by investing heavily in the game.”

The PFF president said that he had already started making moves by luring sponsors to conduct the first ever Pakistan Football League (PFL). “GSV has come forward in a big way. I want to invest in Pakistan football and players without getting a penny from the PFF.”

Syed Ashfaq also announced the formation of the GSV board headed by him. “I will be heading the GSV Board with MNA Aamir Doghar being the senior executive. Three GSV representatives will also be members of the Board. Every penny to be invested on soccer will be accounted for. Though the entire amount will come from foreign investment, still we will make sure that every penny should be spent on soccer promotion only.”

The GSV representatives are expected to meet President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday following their Tuesday meeting with the IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza.

Published in The News, 29 September 2021