By Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: An input from FIFA regarding football conflict in Pakistan would play a key role in the resolution of the dispute which seems to inflict a huge damage on the country’s football.
But due to its own problems, the world football governing body does not seem to take interest in Pakistan’s crisis.
When on Tuesday ‘The News’ tried to get an input from FIFA regarding the current situation in Pakistan’s football and what role it could play in the resolution of the dispute, its reply was not satisfactory.
“For the time being we have no updates regarding the situation of the PFF,” FIFA spokesperson wrote to this correspondent.
A source in the PFF also admitted on Tuesday that FIFA’s role would be vital.
The PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat and his secretary Col Ahmad Yar Lodhi also face a contempt of court for holding the elections on June 30 near Changla Gali despite court’s stay order. Its hearing is scheduled to be held on July 23.
Another hearing regarding the frozen accounts of the PFF would be held at Islamabad High Court (IHC) on July 24.
However a source said it was yet to be determined whether IHC could handle the same case because the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probing into allegations of corruption against the PFF is based in Lahore besides the federation itself which also operates in the Punjab capital.
The PFF has already taken the stance that FIA could not investigate it because of its status as a private entity.
Due to its frozen accounts, the PFF had to pull out of the Under-16 SAFF Cup which will be held in Bangladesh next month.
If the crisis deepens, the country may miss a handful of vital international events which would be held during the next six months.
In September, Pakistan will feature in the 2016 AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers in Sri Lanka and in the 2016 AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers in Dhaka. From December 23 to January 2 Pakistan would show their mettle in the SAFF Cup in India, while from January 10-20 the Green-shirts would feature in the South Asian Games to be hosted by India in Guwahati and Shillong.
If Pakistan misses these events, it would inflict a huge financial damage on the players which have been earning decent money because of the tours during the last few years.
Besides international commitments, the crisis may affect the Premier League also. Arshad Lodhi group also plans to unveil a calendar of events by the end of this month which is more likely to carry the Premier League also.
“The cases in courts may take two to three months and we are trying to convince the departments and hopefully would hold the Premier League,” a source in Arshad Lodhi group said.
If Arshad Lodhi group engages the departments in Premier League, the Faisal-led PFF would have to face problems in conducting its own league it has been holding for the last 11 years.
The PFF has also challenged the national sports policy of the government and the court is yet to dispose off the matter.
A source in the PFF said that they could emerge victorious in the end as Pakistan’s government has signed a deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that only those sports bodies would be recognised who are recognised by their respective international federations.
The conflict has also kept national coaches under an immense pressure.
“It’s a really disturbing situation for us as we don’t know which group we should support,” a senior coach told ‘The News’.