by Abdul Mohi Shah
ISLAMABAD: Punjab Football Association President Sardar Naveed Haider Thursday made a passionate appeal to the prime minister and Chief of Army Staff (COAS), requesting them to compel the Normalization Committee (NC) of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to hold free and fair elections at the earliest as demanded by the international body, government of Pakistan and constitution of the federation.
Addressing a press conference, accompanied by no less than ten leading officials of the PFF from across the country, Naveed said the FIFA has been misguided by the current NC.
“There is no hurdle in holding free and fair PFF elections. If the NC chief is sincere, the election could be conducted within three months. I would request the prime minister and the Army chief to ensure that NC conducts elections within three months.”
He added that doors are being closed for the youth pursuing the game of soccer. “Neither there are recognized football activities at the club level nor do they organise any district level competitions. No effort is being made to organise football at the grassroots level. Those running the NC are having a good time by taking home dollars and helping foreign settled players to represent the country on foreign passports. The foreign players never attend camps and land only to play for Pakistan abroad.”
He said that there has been no premier league for the last three years. “Departments are waiting to start recognized football. If there is no league or local events how could a department select players from their team. Only today, the NC has issued a notification for the next phase of the league. This is all because of the pressure exerted by the government and my ground. I am especially thankful to Minister for IPC Ehsanur Rehman Mazari for his efforts to bring democracy to the PFF. What every football lover and I want is to get a recognised football body to streamline the game in the country.”
All work should and must be carried out under the PFF constitution. They have ignored all local talent. We conceded 18 goals and scored just one in international competitions. Our talent is capable of beating the best. The NC is only there to give exposure to foreign players. Over Rs15 million was spent for just one match that was more meant to appease ladies who are not living in Pakistan.”
Naveed Haider said that it was a must for any sports organization to work in coordination with the respective government. “That is not the case with NC. They are not even listening to the genuine directions from the government and the ministry and that is to hold free and fair elections.”
The Punjab Football president said that the NC has degraded the name of Pakistan. “The NC is answerable to the National Assembly committee but Haroon Malik must listen to the law of the land and act accordingly. The government’s only demand is to hold free and fair elections.”
Naveed added that $15 million is pending with the FIFA. “Each NC member gets $5,000 to $7,000 salary/month and additional $50,000 as administrative expenses.” He alleged that Rs6 million was transferred to one of NC member’s personnel account at the time of transition.
“We also want to know where that amount that belonged to poor players has gone.” Pakistan Veterans Chairman Mian Abbas, who also spoke on the occasion, said: “We have just one request and appeal to the PM and Army Chief to help Pakistan Football work democratically.”