No end in sight despite completion of NC’s tenure as elected body [The News]

No end in sight despite completion of NC’s tenure as elected body [The News]

by Abdul Mohi Shah

ISLAMABAD: The Normalization Committee (NC) of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has completed a full tenure of an elected body, getting yet another extension as if the FIFA is satisfied with what they could not achieve or perform during their four years of unfinished business.

All hue and cry by the corridors of power on the unnecessary delay in handing over the PFF’s reins to an elected body was not given serious consideration by the game’s governing body. Former Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad’s impressive reminder to the FIFA on the depleted football situation at the grassroots level in Pakistan, could not convince the FIFA to break away with its one after another extension policy.

In the letter addressed to FIFA President Gianni Infantino a few months back, Fawad called on the world body to ensure holding of the PFF’s elections by March 15. “I would urge you to take immediate note of the inordinate delay in the completion of the process and the resultant impact on the game of football in Pakistan. It is, therefore, in the interest of everyone that the process of elections is completed well before the last extended deadline of 15th March 2024 without any further extensions. While the Government of Pakistan remains committed to abiding by the Charter of FIFA, it would like the Normalization Committee to complete its assigned task without further delay.”

All these pleas and efforts to make the FIFA realize the ground realities fell on deaf ears. The sitting NC headed by Canadian National Haroon Malik thus got a third extension for more time than he demanded. In an interview with electronic media, Haroon requested the FIFA to give him five more months to hand over the PFF to the elected body. FIFA for reasons unknown almost doubled the period, ensuring that the NC continues having a good time for almost the whole 2024.

When one of the NC members Shahid Khokhar was questioned as to why the FIFA has been so courteous, ensuring that the committee completes more than a whole tenure of an elected body, he said the first NC was part of the stakeholders. “They were the ones who wanted to be part of the setup. After 18 months, Ashfaq Shah Group took over the headquarters. I am now hundred percent confident that everything will be settled within this year.”

One wonders why the game’s world governing has been unable to realize the ground realities in Pakistan. The recognized non-activity at the club level is slowly causing irreparable damage to Pakistan football. Recognized club events are the only stage where genuine talent makes an impact and gets recognised for district and national football stages.

The repeated extensions for the NC have deprived the youth of the country of impressing the selectors at the provincial and national levels as no system is available to take them along.

“Admitted that recognised club activities have been on the halt. This new practice the system we are evolving would help in streamlining data of all the active players which would help the system in the longer run.”

Published in The News, 18 March 2024