By Alam Zeb Safim
KARACHI: It is now highly likely that two bodies of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) will be formed on the June 30 elections, which will put the future of football in the country at a high risk.
Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF will go for polls on the said day at Changla Gali, while Zahir Shah group is set to hold its electoral meeting at FIFA Football House in Lahore.
Both sides have already apprised their Congress members and FIFA and AFC about the venues. A senior official of PFF told ‘The News’ that they would be going to hold their electoral meeting at Changla Gali.
When he was asked that their rivals would meet on the said day at Lahore the official said, “Being a genuine body we would not follow them but they would follow us,” the official said.
The AFC have already confirmed that their representative would be present in the election meeting as observer.
“The AFC plans to be present as per normal procedure as observer at the elective PFF general assembly scheduled for June 30, 2015,” the AFC said in its press release the other day.
A PFF official said that the AFC representative would reach Pakistan soon. He said that they had also written to FIFA and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) to send their observers for the purpose.
There is not only a conflict between the two groups over the venue but they also differ on election rules and women votes. Dropping three departments from the voters list has sparked reaction in the rival group. The status of Punjab Football Association (PFA) is also disputed. Although there is very short time left but without resolving the key issues it would be useless to go for elections.
If FIFA even approves the body which will be formed by Faisal Saleh Hayat at Changla Gali still the dispute will remain the same.
It is a question mark on how Faisal’s PFF will then be able to send teams abroad in the post-election era without the permission of the government.
And if the government created any hurdles in the way of Pakistan football in that case FIFA will impose sanctions on the country which stands ninth in the world in terms of quantity of nursery.
In order to overcome such crises, FIFA normally imposes ad-hoc on its member association and an interim committee is assigned with the task to resolve all the issues and hold smooth elections.
The federal minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada also stated the other day that the government might step in if the PFF elections were not held in a fair and transparent way.
“If the elections were not conducted in fair manner then we will have to step in and impose adhoc on PFF. And we will also officially inform FIFA about that,” Pirzada had told ‘The News’ a few days ago.
If IPC imposed an ad-hoc on PFF in that case too FIFA might slap Pakistan with a ban because it does not allow government’s interference in the affairs of its affiliated national associations.
Following a controversial April 17 PFA elections, PFF issued a notification on April 18 and declared Sardar Naved Haider as new PFA president. Arshad Lodhi group challenged it in Lahore High Court (LHC). The LHC asked Sports Board Punjab (SBP) to probe the issue. The Board, as directed, recorded statements of Arshad Lodhi Group. The other group did not respond as it was of the view that the SBP was not entitled to handle the issue. On May 13, Arshad Lodhi Group held elections in which Rana Ashraf was elected as PFA president and Mehmood Khalid as secretary.
The SBP then submitted the election result with the LHC. The PFF then went for intra-court appeal against the elections which was rejected. The PFF filed another appeal in the same court and the PFF claims that the court rejected all the petitions of its rivals.
On June 10 PFF disciplinary committee slapped 20 congress members of PFA with a life ban for forming parallel provincial body.
On June 16, Faisal’s rival group convened PFF extraordinary congress meeting in Islamabad in which Faisal was suspended and his secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi was dismissed. Arshad Lodhi was made acting president and former PFF senior official Col Farasat Ali Shah as acting secretary.
On June 20, they assumed their duty following an occupation of the PFF headquarters.
On June 23, AFC Director Member Associations and Development Sanjeevan Balasinggam wrote to PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat: “FIFA are in receipt of the attached documents (they have submitted a copy to the AFC), allegedly from the PFF and it details the attendees or delegates at a PFF extraordinary congress held on June 16, 2005.”
“FIFA and AFC would like clarification on the validity of this congress as well as of the 20 delegates attending the said meeting. It is also vital for us to know the exact number of voting delegates at the upcoming congress as per article 23 of PFF statutes, which states that is 26 in total. We look forward to your clarification on this and wish you well in the preparations for the PFF congress on June 30, 2015 in Changla Gali. Rest assured that the AFC solely recognises the PFF under your presidency as the legitimate governing body for football in Pakistan,” the letter said.