Football stakeholders talk unlikely to be productive [The News]

Football stakeholders talk unlikely to be productive [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

KARACHI: It is not likely that the expected dialogue among the Ashfaq group, FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee (NC) and the government will be productive and pave way for the PFF elections.

The Ashfaq group has constituted a five-member committee to hold talks with the NC and government authorities. This correspondent has learnt that the Ashfaq group will ask the IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza to give them a guarantee that FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee will hold free and fair elections.

The Group also wants this deal, if it is brokered, to be certified by FIFA also. It has been learnt that the Ashfaq group will press the NC to hold elections within three or four months. And this seems to be a big issue for NC as it has already shared its blue-print with the state machinery, promising that it will hold elections within nine months.

It has been learnt that the Ashfaq group will not vacate the PFF headquarters but will give a portion in the secretariat to NC to conduct the electoral procedure without any interference.

The Ashfaq group believes that NC’s intentions are different and that is why it wants to re-occupy the PFF secretariat. A few months, the Ashfaq group released audio recordings which showed that NC and its close aids were set to rig elections.

The group sent the details to FIFA and AFC but both bodies did not take any action against anyone.

Sources in the Ashfaq group said that there was nothing difficult in holding elections in three months. They say that the elections will have to be conducted as per the electoral list of 2015. As per rules no fresh clubs can become part of the electoral process. According to the group sources, there are around 2100 clubs whose verification will hardly take one and a half months.

The big issue is that the Ashfaq group does not trust the existing NC and is also not happy with the way FIFA and AFC ignored its revelations.

The group sources said they were open to dialogue in order to resolve the issue, but it would not bow before anyone regarding vacating the PFF headquarters, it has been learnt.

NC, appointed by FIFA in September 2019, has got extension four times so far but has not taken a single step towards elections. FIFA spent millions on the committee, without any outcome. It has been learnt that so far around 19 meetings of NC have been held, 17 of them attended by FIFA and AFC representatives but they failed to understand the situation.

The Ashfaq group has entered into a long-term deal with Global Soccer Ventures (GSV) and is set to launch the first-ever franchise-based Pakistan Football League (PFL) from next March in Karachi.

Published in The News, 7 October 2021