KARACHI: Pakistan’s prolific striker Kaleemullah on Thursday said that in order to prevent the country from FIFA suspension, the possession of the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) headquarters and accounts should be handed over to Faisal Group as advised by the world football governing body’s Member Associations committee.
“It is the only solution to the issue that instructions of FIFA and the Asian Football Federation (AFC) be accepted,” Kaleem told ‘The News’ in an interview from his hometown Chaman.
He said had FIFA’s initial decision in 2015 by giving two years to PFF for revising its statutes and holding fresh elections until September 2017 been accepted, not only the issue would have been resolved but two precious years of national footballers could have been saved.
Kaleem added that it was the right time to take the much-needed step of following FIFA and AFC rules and regulations otherwise sanctions would further put the country’s players in a quagmire.
“Neither party has suffered from the current situation. Those who faced tough time and suffered a lot from the episode are the players. Not only the international footballers faced the brunt due to inactive football but others are also facing great financial problems as the Premier League, which was a source of income for the players of departments, has not been staged for the past two years,’ he added.
Kaleem said that if the government was involved in the whole process then it should also understand that the issue has really taken a nasty turn and needs to be resolved under international laws and regulations. He said that he had no doubt that FIFA would take action if its stance was not respected, adding, suspension would add to the misery of three million people who are actively associated with the sport. Kaleem was part of Ronaldinho’s side in the exhibition match held here at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium on July 8.
Kaleem said that Ronaldinho and Friends told them during their visit to Pakistan that there was immense talent in the country but no certain platform and academies and professional coaches which could prepare and develop the top crop and enable it for national duty and foreign leagues.
Kaleem said that because of the two-year lay-off the game suffered beyond repair, adding, the authorities would have to put their heads together to devise a solid strategy on how to compensate for the damages that the sport suffered once things are settled down.
“It would definitely be an uphill task to repair the damages,” the striker said.Kaleem said if the issue was not resolved immediately then the country’s suspension may put pressure even on departments which could disband their teams.
He said that FIFA has increased the grants of its member associations by manifold, saying, it would now help the country to take the game to new heights once activities are resumed.Kaleem said that the tour of international footballers to Pakistan was a huge step and that would boost the country’s image beyond imagination.
Kaleem, after serving Kyrgyzstan’s Dordoi Bishkek a few years ago, moved to Tulsa Roughnecks, a United Soccer League (USL) team for which he played 23 matches from 2015 to 2017. The former KRL player now serves K-Electric on loan. He is expected to leave for the US in a couple of days to seek further football fortunes.