KARACHI: The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) stance to file a request to FIFA in a bid to seek extension of the current mandate of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has irked former Pakistan assistant coach Nasir Ismail.
“It means that AFC is obliging the PFF. Having already given two years by FIFA, giving further two-year extension will put the last nail in Pakistan football’s coffin,” Nasir reacted during an interview with the ‘The News’ here on Monday.
As per the AFC press release, the AFC Executive Committee on Sunday agreed to the Member Association Task Force recommendation that a request should be made to FIFA to extend the current mandate of the PFF to June 2019 so that meaningful reforms can be undertaken and that FIFA and the AFC hold a joint revision workshop for PFF stakeholders.
“The Executive Committee also agreed that a high-level delegation should meet the Pakistani Government and apprise them of the severe consequences of external interference and the Executive Committee reiterated its position of opposition to government interference in the running of the sport,” the AFC further said.
Nasir, also an AFC License A coach, said that instead of giving further extension to the PFF, FIFA and AFC should interrogate their affiliated national association in Pakistan about what it had done during the past two years.
“Faisal-led PFF had been given two years until September 2017 by FIFA and now I would request FIFA to come and investigate what PFF has done during the last two years,” Nasir pointed out.
FIFA, in summer 2015, had given two years to Faisal Saleh Hayat Group until September 2017 with the instructions to revise the constitution and hold PFF elections afresh. However, nothing has been done so far in that direction due to legal wrangling.
Nasir said that sanctions on Pakistan might resolve the issue. “You know, for the last two years, football has been inactive in Pakistan. Two leagues have been missed, besides several international competitions. But despite that, one group is enjoying foreign tours, attending AFC and FIFA meetings and getting perks and privileges. The referees are getting international postings and various officials of the PFF are attending seminars and workshops of the AFC.
“People working with Faisal Group are getting salaries regularly. Others, who are working under administrator Asad Munir, appointed by the LHC, also get salaries. They all are enjoying and they don’t care about football,” Nasir said.
“Only footballers have suffered during the last two years. Various banks and other commercial organisations have stopped fresh induction of the players and they say that once their official activities would begin they would be given raise in their salaries and would be handed promotion. If the PFF gets two more years for the sake of the so-called reforms, football would be put on the brink of extinction.
“If FIFA imposes ban on Pakistan, stops perks and privileges of its member association in Pakistan then automatically the stakeholders will be forced to sit and they will seek to resolve the long-standing dispute,” he said.
Nasir said that both FIFA and AFC were not serious about Pakistan’s issue.
“Had they been serious the issue would have been resolved. I would request FIFA and AFC to intervene and hold transparent elections of the Punjab Football Association (PFA) and PFF keeping in view the law of the land and tenure restriction clause of the national sports policy of Pakistan. If Faisal Group wants to field its own candidate, it should be given every chance to contest the elections. But FIFA and the AFC must respect Pakistan’s laws,” Nasir added.
“Even International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not interfere when Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) wanted to force national federations to follow the tenure-restriction clause during the long tussle between the PSB and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) a few years ago. All federations, except a few, now follow sports policy. If IOC can respect our local laws then why can’t FIFA?” Nasir questioned.
Nasir also wished Faisal Saleh Hayat to recover soon. Faisal, who is also AFC’s Executive Committee member, received serious injuries in a road accident in Faisalabad last week.
Pakistan last featured in international circuit in April 2015. And since then neither senior nor age-group teams have competed in any international meet.
A few days ago, Supreme Court set aside the February 2, 2017, decision of Lahore High Court (LHC) and asked it to decide the case on merit within six weeks. The hearing in this case is still awaited.