Footballers plan big protest against FIFA after Eid [The News]

Footballers plan big protest against FIFA after Eid [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

LAHORE: Former and current international and national footballers, who have massively suffered due to football’s current situation in the country, plan to stage a protest demonstration against FIFA in front of the National Press Club in Islamabad immediately after Eid-ul-Fitr.

Footballers will also hold a press conference at the NPC to condemn FIFA for continuously backing its appointed Normalisation Committee and giving it extension after extension despite the fact that it has so far failed to meet the mandate given by the world football governing body to hold the PFF elections.

“Yes, we plan to protest not against the PFF NC but against FIFA and FIFA Council which blindly believe in their appointed Normalisation Committee which has damaged Pakistan’s football,” former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa told ‘The News’ from Balochistan on Friday.

“We will protest immediately after Eid against the electoral process which is not only a violation of the PFF Constitution but is also against the FIFA mandate. Similarly, FIFA’s attitude is also a big question mark as it does not respond to the letters of the stakeholders which are protesting against the illegal steps which NC is taking. And this has pushed the country’s football towards disaster,” Essa said.

“There has been no Premier League for the last five years. The way FIFA is giving extension to NC consistently we have decided to stage a protest demonstration not against NC’s chairman Haroon Malik but against FIFA and its attitude. FIFA is responsible for the destruction of Pakistan’s football,” Essa said.

“Despite NC’s failure on many fronts it has been giving it extensions. This situation has compelled all legend players and current players to go for a huge protest in Islamabad. We will also hold a press conference at the NPC and effort will be made to get this issue resolved through state involvement,” said Essa, a former playmaker. “We don’t’ think FIFA is eager in the resolution of this issue. We will demand that a transparent audit of the PFF NC should be conducted and if any financial irregularity is found strict action should be taken against the NC chairman Haroon Malik,” Essa said.

“We also believe that Haroon is deliberately ignoring Pakistan’s domestic football. This attitude has inflicted huge financial damage on the country’s footballers and their families. He is ignoring real coaches and stakeholders. His only focus is on offshore players and coaches and he is obliging his own people. He has no sympathy with the Pakistan’s football. He has made huge money,” Essa alleged.

“We are set to constitute a legal team, will write letters to the relevant authorities like anti-corruption unit and inshaAllah the state will also back us,” Essa said. “We will meet the prime minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif also and for that we have launched our efforts. For the last several years FIFA has not been funding Pakistan which is its due right and it is also damaging the players, coaches and their families,” said Essa, who is also an AFC License B coach.

Published in The News, 23 March 2024