Umaid Wasim – DAWN
LAHORE: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) had another Goal project approved by FIFA on Tuesday but the bigger issue regards the seven others that are yet to be completed.
FIFA approved the football turf project after the FIFA Development Committee met on Tuesday in Zurich in which they also decided that the project will receive a funding of $600,000 — up from $500,000 previously.
The turf is one that PFF plans to install at the Khanewal Goal project, which was approved in 2010 and work on which started last year when the foundation stone was laid. It is expected to be completed by January 2016.
But FIFA will expect the PFF to complete the other six by the end of this year.
“Following the 2014 statutory annual audit performed by KPMG and in order to optimise the efficiency of the Goal projects, it was agreed that FIFA would send a letter to the 21 member associations having at least one of the 25 Goal projects approved prior to 2013 that, for different reasons, have not yet been implemented or whose respective contracts have not yet been signed, in order for them to adopt the necessary steps towards implementation by the end of 2015,” a FIFA statement said.
The first Goal project, which was approved in 2004 and completed in 2007 is the only which is completed. That was the construction of the PFF headquarters in Lahore.
The others, meanwhile, remain mired in controversy.
The second Goal project Pakistan received was in 2006 — a relief project for Azad Kashmir which was devastated by an earthquake in 2005.
However, that project was shifted to Peshawar and was to be completed by 2011, according to PFF.
Well-placed sources told Dawn that the Goal project which was shifted on insistence of PFF vice-president Zahir Ali Shah from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was yet to be started.
“The land on which the Goal project was to be built was a disputed one but despite getting court clearance for the land, nothing has been done as yet,” the source said. “The bricks that arrived for building the project are now being carried away from the site to be sold.”
The third goal project for Karachi, announced in 2006 and to be completed in 2013, is one the PFF said ‘is almost ready’. It was to be inaugurated last year but plans are afoot to inaugurate it this year.
There is, however, no concrete work done on Goal projects in Quetta, Sukkur and Jacobabad — all of which were approved in 2010 and were to be completed last year.
The one in Abbottabad, given at the same time as the afore-mentioned three, is nearing completion according to the PFF.
With FIFA facing pressure from all quarters to regulate the Goal project — which is usually termed as Sepp Blatter’s pet project to help him get necessary votes to keep him at the top seat of world’s football governing body.
Blatter will run for a fifth term as FIFA chief when the elections are held in May this year. After securing his position he may start a crackdown on the countries that are lagging behind in completion of their projects. The PFF needs to act fast!
Published in Dawn March 19th , 2015