PFF NC ups the ante as end of mandate looms [Dawn]

PFF NC ups the ante as end of mandate looms [Dawn]

by Umaid Wasim

KARACHI: Three news releases in four days. The Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee appointed by the game’s global body FIFA is upping the ante with the end of its mandate looming at the end of this month.

If it successfully regains control of the PFF headquarters by the end of September, the NC — appointed in September 2019 — stands a good chance of getting another extension.

The NC made its strongest case to get the headquarters vacated in Friday’s announcement, saying it had given the election roadmap to the Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination and Pakistan Sports Board, the country’s sports regulatory body.

It was the delay in elections which prompted the court-elected PFF of Ashfaq Hussain Shah to retake the charge of the PFF headquarters from the NC and prompted FIFA to suspend Pakistan.

“A complete and comprehensive roadmap of the election process has been provided to the Ministry of IPC and PSB by NC,” the latest news release quoted PFF NC chairman Haroon Malik as saying.

“We always had the clarity in our thoughts that free, fair and transparent elections in line with the PFF statutes are the only solution to the long standing football issues in Pakistan.”

Haroon added that had the takeover of the PFF headquarters not taken place, “most of the election process would’ve been completed by now” and that “the illegal takeover had caused unwanted delay in the process apart from bringing bad name on Pakistan”.

The PFF NC had also issued news releases on Tuesday and Wednesday with Haroon warning that the FIFA ban would remain indefinitely while praising the efforts of Minister for IPC Dr Fehmida Mirza for holding talks with all stakeholders to get a breakthrough for the ban to be lifted.

PFF NC member Shahid Khokhar told Dawn on Friday that the roadmap sent to the government will see elections held according to the PFF constitution, which would see them completed in about nine months.

“We’ve proposed a transparent system for elections in the roadmap,” he told Dawn, adding that the PFF NC’s move to announce that the government had been handed over the roadmap close to the end of its mandate was because it was finalising some things.

“It’s been a reasonable time since it was handed over to the government and we were waiting for the right time to disclose it.”

The timing of the disclosure seems to be an effort to mount pressure on the government to take action.

“We are still talking,” Dr Fehmida told Dawn on Friday, adding that the PFF constitution was distorted and needed correction.

Dawn has learnt that there is a good chance that the PFF NC will get another three-month extension to its mandate like it got in June despite Pakistan having been suspended by FIFA.

A FIFA spokesperson reverted Dawn to that same announcement of extension when asked about a further extension to the PFF NC.

“Further details will follow in due course,” the spokesperson added.

In June, FIFA cited that the extension was to allow the PFF NC’s “administrative and legal efforts on ground to continue”.

That did bear fruit with the PFF NC successfully blocking Ashfaq’s PFF, which came to power through an election held by the Supreme Court in December 2018, from accessing the accounts of the country’s football governing body.

Yet, there remains little chance that Ashfaq’s PFF will hand back the headquarters to the PFF NC.“The roadmap says that the elections will take a further nine months and we can’t wait for that long,” Ashfaq told Dawn on Friday. “We can’t trust the PFF NC. We gave them the time to hold elections and they failed to deliver.”

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2021