FIFA hands nine-month extension to PFF NC [Dawn]

FIFA hands nine-month extension to PFF NC [Dawn]

by Umaid Wasim

KARACHI: Almost nine months after warning of sanctions if the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee was unable to hold elections of the country’s football governing body by March, FIFA has given the Haroon Malik-led committee a further nine-month extension to complete its mandate.

The existing mandate of the PFF NC was due to expire on Friday and FIFA announced on Thursday that its all-powerful Council had decided to extend it until December 15.

“The Council confirmed that the mandate of the Normalisation Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation will be extended until 15 December 2024 to allow for the completion of the existing mandate and electoral process,” FIFA said in a media release, where it highlighted other decisions taken by the Council.

The announcement comes after a stern warning by FIFA when it handed the previous extension to the PFF NC, which has been at odds with the government as well as football stakeholders in the country.

In a letter to PFF NC chairman Haroon Malik in July, FIFA had said that “in the event that the PFF elections have not taken place by 15 March 2024, the matter will once again be brought to its [the Council’s] attention for consideration and the possible imposition of sanctions on the PFF, in accordance with the FIFA Statutes.”

No sanctions have been imposed despite the PFF NC’s performance having been in question.

The elections at district level — the first step towards electing the PFF Congress — have been postponed time and again due to various issues. On their latest start date on Wednesday, there was an issue with contestants for the posts of president and secretary in a district having been mixed up.

There were also issues with newly-listed clubs being given voting rights, in contravention of the PFF Statutes, with accusations of pre-poll rigging having been made by stakeholders as elections in some districts have begun ahead of others.

Rumours were swirling about a change in the composition of the PFF NC but FIFA did not mention if it was adding or replacing members in Thursday’s announcement.

The government has been pressing FIFA for changing the composition of the PFF NC. It was also scheduled to meet FIFA and Asian Football Confederation officials alongside the PFF NC but that meeting was twice postponed.

FIFA’s short statement didn’t mention if it will seek to hold talks with the government although more details on that matter will come in the letter it writes to the PFF NC regarding the latest extension.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2024