NA body asks ministry to take up PFF elections issue with FIFA [The News]

NA body asks ministry to take up PFF elections issue with FIFA [The News]

by Abdul Mohi Shah

ISLAMABAD: The Normalisation Committee (NC) of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) was warned against unnecessary delay in holding the federation’s elections as the National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) members were unanimous that everything has been done deliberately and with the purpose to stay long at the helm of affairs.

Haroon Malik, chairman of the NC, retracted from his earlier statement given two months back, now maintaining that there is no club in the country that comes up to the conditions of the FIFA Connect programme. A few months ago he had told Minister for IPC Ehsanur Rehman Mazari during his commitment that there were 40 clubs fulfilling the requirements.

“Now you say there is no club. At the time when you gave your commitment to the ministry that the election process will start from May 15, you said that there were 40 clubs fulfilling the requirements. So your statements are changing with each passing day. Are you serious about holding the elections or having some other motives,” Mazari said during the NA Committee meeting.

Haroon was grilled by the NA body members and even chairman Nawab Sher Waseer warned him against making one promise or other every time he appears before the committee.

“We would be having no other option but to write to the concerned higher authorities in Pakistan as well as FIFA to look into the gross negligence being made by the NC. We respect the FIFA but at the same time would like to make the PFF an elected body. The NC is not serious at all in conducting the much-awaited elections.”

When Haroon said that the elections would be conducted by June 2024, the members present in the House broke into laughter. “You are having a good time and drawing huge salaries and keep on changing the goalposts for your own benefits. We are sure that you will not conduct any elections in the near future.”

Haroon added that he wanted to conduct the elections and leave the job. “We would start the process at the end of the May and hopefully would complete the process next year.”

Sher Waseer said that the NC was making lame excuses. “You are not taking the matter seriously. We know how to put you back on the track.”

The NA Committee chairman recommended to the ministry to take up the matter with FIFA as the NC was not serious in conducting elections.

IPC Secretary Ahmad Hanif Orakzai, Director General Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Shoaib Khoso and Deputy DG PSB Mohammad Ibrar also highlighted the NC’s failure to seek NOC from the government before taking teams’ tours abroad.

“We did not have the NOC when our teams visited abroad. We will make efforts to seek NOC when we next tour abroad.”

Haroon revealed that he has been drawing $5,500 as monthly salary. “My members are taking less than that. I think this amount has got nothing to do with the grant meant for the promotion of football in Pakistan.”

For countries like Pakistan, the FIFA has earmarked around $4 million annually which is redundant as there is no democratically elected football body in the country.

Mazari in his candid speech in the NA Standing Committee said the NC never took the five-point mandate given by the FIFA seriously.

“There was a five-point mandate given to the NC. Besides running the day-to-day affairs, all other four points were connected to the elections. Not a single point has been completed during the last four years from the time the PFF has been working under the NC. Thrice the NC has given time frame for the election and as many times they broke that promise.”

The DG PSB has said that the time has come when the government would be having no other option but to involve the FIFA not to allow teams travelling abroad without NOC.

The NA Standing Committee chairman has called for an audit of the PFF. “Now we want to see how much amount you have spent on your trips abroad and what are your other expenditures from the kitty solely meant for promotion of football and grooming of players in the country.”

Published in The News, 18 May 2023