by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: The chairman of FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee Haroon Malik on Monday said that the recent visit of the NC’s delegation to Doha remained highly successful.
“There were a few features of the tour and the most overriding one was Pakistan’s suspension matter but besides that the tour remained highly beneficial from different perspectives,” Haroon told ‘The News’ after his return to Pakistan from Doha.
The three-member NC delegation headed by Haroon Malik on its Doha tour also attended FIFA Congress and the 2022 FIFA World Cup draws ceremony at Qatar’s capital.
It also held meetings with both FIFA and AFC senior management and various football associations of Asia.
“We met FIFA’s senior and middle management. We also held meetings with five FIFA’s Executive Committee members and discussed with them Pakistan’s situation. They are very keen to see Pakistan’s football back to normal,” said Haroon, who was accompanied on the tour by NC’s senior members Shahid Khokhar and Haris Azmat.
He said that a detailed discussion was also held with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa.
“It was my first meeting with the AFC chief and we discussed with him various matters. The AFC president has a soft corner in his heart for Pakistan’s football. He invited us to come over there to discuss various issues when suspension is lifted. And he further said that after our visit AFC will send its delegation to Pakistan to see the things on ground and will then assist NC in its venture to hold the PFF elections,” Haroon revealed.
He said that they also held meetings with the SAFF nations and some federations of the AFC. “We met all SAFF nations including All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) president Praful Patel and his Secretary General. SAFF nations offered us to send our team but we told them that it would be better if they sent their teams. And they agreed,” Haroon said.
“It would be a huge step if SAFF nations sent their teams to Pakistan as it would help both football and fans here,” Haroon said.
“We also met football associations of Iran, Syria, Palestine, Korea, Japan, Lithuania, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia aNd Oman. And their feedback was great; they said when suspension was lifted they would like to establish sporting relationship with Pakistan,” Haroon said.
He said they also held meeting with the AFC legal counsel. “We held a detailed discussion with the AFC legal counsel Andrew Mercer and discussed matters relating to the PFF Constitution and election road-map. I told him that there are certain challenges before us which will create issues for us in holding elections and we need some solution. He said that they will talk on this in details once the suspension is lifted,” Haroon said.