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SC sets aside decision on football issue, asks LHC to decide case on ‘merit’ [The News]

SC sets aside decision on football issue, asks LHC to decide case on ‘merit’ [The News]

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) double bench decision regarding football matter and referred the case back to the LHC double bench with the instructions to decide it on merit, insiders told ‘The News’.

The LHC double bench has been advised to decide the matter within six weeks, sources said.

They added that the court had asked both the parties if they agreed the elections of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) could be held. But sources said that the FIFA-recognised PFF legal counsel Asma Jehangir told the court that the PFF had already held its elections.

A source present in the court said that the court asked the PFF counsel how could they hold elections when a stay order had already been issued by the LHC.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case. He was accompanied by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Faisal Arab, sources informed.

It was also learnt that the apex court clarified that the PFF had the right of filing the writ petitions and so they were maintainable.

Meanwhile, apex court also rejected the request of Faisal-Group that the PFF administrator should be removed.

The court said that administrator Asad Munir, who is also a former justice, will work till the LHC decision regarding the matter.

The issue has wasted crucial two years of Pakistan’s football. During the period, the country was not only deprived of taking part in any international event but it also failed to hold its Premier League.

FIFA in 2015 had decided to give two years to Faisal-Group with the instructions to revise its constitution and hold fresh elections. But due to various reasons the same group could not do anything in that direction.

On February 2, 2017 the LHC had dismissed a couple petitions of the Faisal-Group and had asked the administrator to hand over control of the PFF to the newly-elected PFF.

After the administrator did not hand over control to Faisal-Group it went to LHC regarding non-compliance of the court order but the court replied that it had not said in its order that the PFF control should be handed over to Faisal-Group. But it had rather said that the PFF control should be given to the newly-elected office-bearers of the PFF.

The rival Group of Arshad Lodhi then filed appeal in the Supreme Court and requested the apex court to hold the PFF elections. The group had also requested the court that the administrator should stay till elections. The apex court had allowed its appeal.

Published in The News, 7 April 2017

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