Govt to hand over PFF headquarters to NC soon [The News]

Govt to hand over PFF headquarters to NC soon [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

KARACHI: The federal government has shown firm commitment to hand over the PFF headquarters to the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, it has been reliably learnt.

Sources told ‘The News’ that it has been decided at the highest level that the PFF secretariat will be handed over to the NC soon. Both the state and NC have reached an agreement. Sources told this correspondent that it was now a matter of time and the handover process would happen in the next few days.

Sources said that the delay in handing over happened because the IPC minister Dr Fehmida Mirza was abroad. “She is in the US as her brother is ill and is expected to return in a few days. It seems that the delay in handing over is because of that,” a source privy to the development said.

Last week the IPC secretary Mohsin Mushtaq and federal minister Asad Umar held a detailed meeting with a four-member delegation of NC headed by its chairman Haroon Malik. Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Col (retd) Asif Zaman was also present in the meeting.

In the meeting the NC was also advised to submit an election roadmap with revised dates. As per the PFF Constitution the electoral process takes eight months provided no legal issues emerge.

Asad Umar directed the IPC secretary to hand over the headquarters to NC. However, the IPC secretary told him that a letter would be forwarded to the IPC minister and then the step would be taken.

Sources said that the IPC minister had specifically invited NC’s chairman Haroon Malik from Canada, assuring him that the NC would be handed over the headquarters. Sources said that when Fehmida had to fly out of the country due to an emergency she told Haroon that she had told Asad Umar and he would hold a meeting with the NC before the handover process.

Sources said that during the meeting Haroon briefed Asad Umar on why it was important to hand over the headquarters to NC. Pakistan is serving suspension from FIFA because of third party’s interference. Because of that 2.7 million footballers, coaches and referees are suffering.

Ashfaq group re-occupied the PFF headquarters late last March and in the first week of April FIFA suspended Pakistan’s membership. Ashfaq group had handed over complete charge to NC in September 2019 but the group re-occupied the headquarters early this year citing delay on the part of NC in holding the PFF elections.

Sources said that Fehmida and Asad Umar played a key role in the whole process. According to sources it was Asad Umar who managed the things at the highest level. Sources said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had deputed Asad to dispose of the matter which was a huge stumbling block in the way of the PFF elections process.

It is pertinent to mention here that in the first week of November the PFF headquarters was sealed by the Punjab government citing lease issues. Sources also revealed that Asad Umar asked NC during the meeting to submit in writing the election roadmap, its stance on whether NC will strictly follow it and hand over the headquarters immediately to the new elected PFF.

Sources said that NC has already committed to holding elections within the constitutional time-frame. Sources said that there is no other condition from the government side and NC will follow the PFF Constitution in holding free and transparent elections.

Meanwhile, this correspondent also learnt that the government had decided to abolish departmental sports teams so NC may face issues in deciding which entities will replace departments in the electoral process.

As there is no strong presence of clubs in Pakistan’s football structure, which has been solely dominated by the departmental system, this problem may force NC to think deeply about what it could do within its mandate.

Published in The News, 28 December 2021