By Mohammad Yaqoob
LAHORE, March 25: The Punjab sports department has warned the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) of cancelling the lease agreement for the newly-built FIFA House for violation of one of the clauses by subletting three halls of the premises for commercial purpose.
According to a letter written this month to the national football federation by Secretary Punjab sports department Munawar Abbas, a strong notice had been taken over PFF subletting the halls, despite the proposal had been disapproved by the Punjab chief minister.
The provincial government had given a precious piece of land to the PFF for the FIFA-funded project with clear advice not to use the premises commercially.
The provincial sports department, on knowing that the PFF had sublet three halls to a non-sports body for an annual rent of around Rs7.2 million without clear instructions from the government, decided to take the action.
When contacted, Secretary PFF Ahmed Yar Lodhi claimed that the Punjab chief minister had given the approval for subletting the halls.
“After getting the approval, the PFF rent out the halls in June 2006. But the sports department contacted the PFF six months later, advising not to sublet the halls. But how can we cancel the lease now?” he asked.
Lodhi also claimed that then secretary sports department (Naveed Akram Cheema) also gave the PFF verbal permission to rent out the halls.
“The case is cleared and the PFF is using its all income on promoting the game,” Lodhi said.
On the other hand, Munawar stated that the chief minister did not give any permission (for subletting the halls).
“In fact, the chief minister has referred the PFF’s request to the Revenue Board for further action. As no advice received to him from the Revenue Board till to date, that means the PFF sublet the halls without having legal order and so it is illegal,” he said.
“I can’t believe that previous secretary (Naveed) can verbally allow the PFF to sublet the halls, without a written permission from the top,” Munawar concluded.