by Faizan Lakhani
Football’s governing body FIFA and Asian Football Federation (AFC) backed the Haroon Malik-led Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee (NC) on Wednesday.
The development comes after the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination had asked FIFA President Gianni Infantino, in a letter dated June 19, to consider withdrawing the nomination of chairman of the PFF Normalisation Committee (NC) and, instead, appoint a Focal Person to monitor football affairs and liaise with the Ministry and Pakistan Sports Board to conduct elections of PFF.
The IPC ministry had also accused PFF NC for wasting four years since its appointment in the year 2019.
However, FIFA, in its reply to IPC, has clarified that the “current normalisation committee was only able to properly fulfil its mandate starting from the end of June of last year”.
“We would like to point out that although the PFF Normalisation Committee was appointed by FIFA on June 27, 2019, its current four members were nominated on January 19, 2021 only, following the inability of the previous members to carry out their mandates as per the instructions of FIFA,” FIFA stated in the letter.
“Furthermore, the suspension of PFF by FIFA, which lasted from April 6, 2021 until June 29, 2022, made it impossible for the normalisation committee to carry out its mandate during that period as it had no premises nor staff at disposal,” it added.
FIFA also highlighted the progress made by the PFF NC while also confirming that the latter will stay in charge till March 15, 2024. It also stated that another review will be carried out in October this year.
“Since the lifting of the suspension of PFF, FIFA has witnessed considerable progress on the part of the normalisation committee in fulfilling its mandate. Such progress was in fact reported in detail to the Executive Body of FIFA (the FIFA Council) which decided on 23 June 2023 to extend the mandate of the normalisation committee until 15 March 2024 at the latest. The FIFA Council also decided that the FIFA administration would continue to monitor the progress made in relation to the organisation of the elections at the different levels in line with the provisions of the PFF Constitution and carry out a review by 31 October 2023,” the letter stated.
FIFA also provided an update about the work done by the PFF with regards to football elections in Pakistan.
“The main challenge that the normalisation committee has faced since the lifting of the suspension is to ensure that the strict requirements and principles of the PFF Constitution of 2014 in relation with the scrutiny and registration of clubs as well as the holding of elections at the level of the districts and provinces, are applied suitably so that elections of a new PFF Executive Committee can eventually be considered to be truly free and fair as instructed by the FIFA Council in its initial decision of 2019 to appoint a normalisation committee for the PFF,” the letter added.
“In this regard, we would also like to point out that the normalisation committee met with the relevant football stakeholders on a number of occasions in the past months to exchange on the complexity of the scrutiny and electoral process as defined in the current PFF Constitution.
“Once a new PFF Executive Committee is in place, and as underlined by FIFA in past correspondence, we believe that the PFF Constitution should be amended with the assistance of FIFA and the AFC without further ado, so that the appropriate good governance principles and best practices can be adopted by PFF and its members. This will guarantee that governance issues that PFF unfortunately had to face in the recent past do not occur again.
“FIFA and the AFC are fully committed to ensuring that PFF is best equipped going forward so that football can strive and grow again in Pakistan.”
FIFA has also offered to meet with the relevant government authorities of Pakistan to discuss in more detail the current situation of PFF and the future of football in Pakistan post-normalisation committee. It also suggested a high-level meeting between FIFA, the AFC, the PFF normalisation committee and the relevant government officials in Dubai (UAE) between September 11 to 13, 2023.