Visit of FIFA/AFC delegation to decide course of PFF elections: NC chief [Dawn]

Visit of FIFA/AFC delegation to decide course of PFF elections: NC chief [Dawn]

by Mohammad Yaqoob

LAHORE: Next month’s visit by a joint-delegation of global football body FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation will decide the course of the Pakistan Football Federation elections, PFF Normalisation Committee chairman Haroon Malik said on Thursday, hinting that the completion of the process could go beyond the mandate given to the NC.

The PFF NC had given an eight-month roadmap to the government to complete the elections of the country’s football governing body, which has been mired in crisis and controversy for the best part of the last decade, but addressing a news conference at the PFF headquarters regarding the rollout of the FIFA Connect — which will see clubs being registered and scrutinized as the first step towards the polls, Haroon said that there were some hurdles which would be sorted out after the visit of the FIFA/AFC delegation.

“We are on course to register the clubs across the country after which the physical scrutiny will begin by January,” Haroon, sitting alongside NC member Saud Hashmi, told reporters.

“There are two old cases against the elections pending in the courts … one in Balochistan and second from Bahawalpur and we have to fight it as there is a stay against holding the elections.

“Our mandate is till the end of June next year and there are some constitutional problems as well. To address them, a joint-delegation of FIFA and AFC will visit the country to review all the steps we’ve taken towards holding the elections. There will be another review at the end of our mandate to take future decisions.”

The long-running dispute in the PFF has seen clubs miss out on registrations for the past several years. While the PFF constitution gives voting rights in district-level elections to clubs which have been registered for at least two years, Haroon said that the NC would go back to the dates of previous registrations to finalise the clubs which will be allowed to vote.

Saud informed that 3600 clubs from across the country had been connected to the FIFA portal.

“There were 5500 applications received after which 3600 have been cleared after the initial scrutiny,” he said. “The process for the documentary scrutiny would be completed in December ahead of the physical scrutiny.”

Since returning to the PFF headquarters in July, and after a 15-month suspension on Pakistan was lifted by FIFA, the NC has revived national teams and this week announced trials for both the women’s and under-16 teams.

Haroon said the resumption of domestic events will begin with the National Challenge Cup.

“It will be held sometime in January next year and after the announcement of the dates, the departmental teams will have two months to complete preparations,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2022