FIFA-AFC delegation seeks suggestions from stakeholders [The News]

FIFA-AFC delegation seeks suggestions from stakeholders [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

KARACHI: The three-member joint delegation of FIFA and AFC held several meetings with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee during the last few days. The delegation, headed by Rolf Tanner, on Wednesday met with a handful of football stakeholders, including a few former PFF Congress members, in Lahore.

The delegation sought their input regarding the PFF elections, sources told ‘The News’. The delegation was also briefed by the former PFF Congress member and senior vice-president Syed Zahir Shah from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday. Haji Saeed Tikko, a a former PFF Congress member from Balochistan, was also present in the meeting.

This correspondent understands that FIFA and AFC officials are convinced that some clauses of the PFF Constitution lack clarity. They are yet to decide how to go for elections through the Normalisation Committee.

There is also talk about changing the PFF statutes. The big issue is whether FIFA can change the PFF statutes. FIFA categorically stated in its letter it issued in September 2019 while giving the details about its appointed NC: “The newly-elected PFF executive committee will then be tasked with revising the statutes of the PFF, jointly with FIFA and the AFC, within one year of its election in order to bring them in line with the requirements of FIFA and the AFC.”

If the PFF elections are held as per the 2015 electoral list, issues may be created. And if any step is taken to change the statutes then those who are affected by the step may go to courts and further problems may be created in holding the PFF elections.

Both FIFA and AFC are keen to hold the PFF elections and want to see Pakistan’s football back on track. They have pledged to back Pakistan in its football revival journey. On Tuesday, too, at the first-ever football summit at Lahore organised by NC, FIFA and AFC officials pledged to support Pakistan’s football.

In an open discussion with various stakeholders during tea break of the summit, the members of the delegation of FIFA and AFC were seen patiently listening to various suggestions regarding Pakistan’s football, especially the PFF elections which is the sole objective of FIFA at this stage. The delegation also showed its satisfaction over the way the NC under Haroon Malik is working.

Sources told ‘The News’ that NC aims to invite all stakeholders in February and to reach a consensus how to go for the PFF elections.

The NC has the mandate until June 30, 2023. It has formed a database by registering over 4000 clubs whose physical scrutiny will be held by conducting competitions in all districts. There are three court cases at this stage. One relates to the PFF accounts in Lahore and the others are in Quetta and Bahawalpur courts which need to be decided if NC has to go for the elections.

Keeping in view the ground realities it does not seem likely that NC will be able to hold elections within the period it has been given. It will need further extension from FIFA Council to complete the electoral process.

The delegation, which includes Andrei Vashkevich and Purushottam Kattel, will return on Thursday (today).

Published in The News, 19 January 2023