Club scrutiny in six districts to begin from 27th: PFF NC [Dawn]

Club scrutiny in six districts to begin from 27th: PFF NC [Dawn]

KARACHI: After the long, drawn-out process of club registrations, the scrutiny is set to begin. The Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee moved a step closer to the major part of its mandate set by FIFA when it announced that the club scrutiny for elections of the crisis-riddled football governing body will begin from May 27.

The Haroon Malik-led PFF NC said in a news release on Monday that club scrutiny in six districts namely Hyderabad, Nankana, Badin, Hafizabad, Qila Abdullah and Chitral will commence with district level tournaments to finalise the voting lists. “Soon after [scrutiny in the six districts], subject to the political situation of the country, the scope of scrutiny will expand to encompass other districts nationwide,” it said.

The PFF elections are a multi-tiered process. Following polls at district levels, representatives elect the provincial football associations, which in turn will nominate members for the Congress which elects the PFF president. The NC noted that the elections will be held “in strict accordance with the PFF constitution” with the scrutiny process to be conducted “with a focus on transparency and fairness”.

The PFF NC had embarked on an extensive registration programme through the online Pakistan Football Connect programme. The online registration process saw clubs nationwide apply on the portal with NC also sending mobile vans to far-flung areas. The news release didn’t mention whether clubs who have registered with the PFF for the first time will be allowed to vote with the country’s football body having been hit by crisis and controversy since 2015. Clubs that come under the banner of the PFF for the first time get playing rights initially before they get voting rights from the PFF Congress after a period of two years.

The NC, which was appointed in September 2019, has been under fierce criticism for delaying the election process. NC chairman Haroon once again reiterated that his body had faced “persistent challenges” since it assumed office. Haroon and his NC was appointed in January 2021, following the resignation of the previous committee chairman Humza Khan, and Pakistan was suspended for a 15-month period from April 2021 to June last year after the NC was thrown out of office.

“We are delighted to initiate the election process and mark a significant milestone in the restoration of football governance in Pakistan,” Haroon said. “Our goal is to conduct a transparent and inclusive election that upholds the principles of fair play and allows the football community to choose their representatives with confidence. We are committed to steering the PFF towards a brighter future and ushering in a new era for Pakistani football.”

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2023