‘Bring back FIFA’, genuine football stakeholders urge PM [The Nation]

‘Bring back FIFA’, genuine football stakeholders urge PM [The Nation]

LAHORE-The ‘Football Solidarity Day’ observed by football players in all major cities across the country under the slogan ‘Mr. Prime Minister, Bring back FIFA & my dreams to play for Pakistan’ and the football players and organisers appealed to PM Imran Khan to take immediate steps for the revival of international football in the country. 

The football players have expressed that they strongly hope that the Prime Minister, himself a sportsman, shall understand their feelings of depression. “To play for Pakistan national team is always a dream of every footballer, but due to FIFA ban on Pakistan, there is no national team. Many of us have already lost our dreams,” the players said. 

“The game is on the verge of complete destruction in the absence of national football team. We have no national heroes whom we can follow. Pakistan football teams can only become a part of international football family if the FIFA suspensions are lifted which is only possible if the control of the PFF affairs is given back to FIFA-nominated normalization committee. We are not less talented but the only problem is that we are not being given the opportunity to play for the country,” they added. 

The football organizers have also participated in the peaceful gatherings of ‘Football Solidarity Day’ and expressed grief sorrow and deep concern over football situation in the country. 

They said: “The football community has shown its unity for the single cause which is revival of international football in Pakistan and elimination of FIFA embargoes on the country. The participants of this activity belong to different factions and political thoughts of football in Pakistan, but all are united together for one cause that is to bring international football back to Pakistan.

“We have already demanded the PM of handing over the FIFA House to the FIFA-appointed NC. As the FIFA House has been evacuated, the PM should order the concerned authorities to hand it over to the PFF NC, so that the FIFA suspensions are lifted from Pakistan. We also expect from the NC to announce PFF elections soon after the FIFA suspensions on Pakistan are lifted. The football community comprises of 6 to 7 million football lovers and on this issue, we all are together. It is very painful to see non-footballers sitting in the football house. We want peaceful and immediate return of football house to the NC without further delay.”

When contacted FIFA-approved PFF Normalisation Committee member Shahid Niaz Khokhar regarding ‘Football Solidarity Day’ and its impact on Pakistan football, he said: “Having all the rights to raise their voices being real stakeholders of Pakistan football as well as the actual sufferers due to FIFA suspension on PFF. It is quite heartening to see the football players and football family together for revival of international football in Pakistan.”

Published in The Nation, 23 December 2021