KARACHI: A three-member fact-finding mission of FIFA held marathon meetings with the officials of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and Syed Zahir Shah group.
Zahir Shah was a candidate for the PFF’s presidency against incumbent Faisal Saleh Hayat.
The FIFA delegation, which reached Lahore early Saturday, is headed by member of FIFA Associations Committee and Cyprus FA President Costas Koutsokoumnis.
The head of National Associations of FIFA Primo Corvaro and the AFC Director Member Associations Si Song Mun are the other members. Insiders told ‘The News’ that the delegation held its first meeting with Pakistan Olympic Association’s (POA) president Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan at a hotel.
It was followed by a long meeting with PFF’s chief Faisal Saleh Hayat, who was flanked by secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi, chairman PFF electoral committee and former Inspector General Police (IGP) Khalid Latif, Rubina Irfan and a few others.
Faisal told the delegation about the whole situation which has crippled football in the country. The mission was told with proofs that PFF’s statutes were duly approved by FIFA. The delegation was also briefed about the status of the extraordinary congress meeting which had been convened by their rival group.
Faisal and company told FIFA’s mission that it was a fake congress and not only the attendance of the participants was fake but politician Kashmala Tariq also held a press conference who did not know anything about football.
It was also told about the interference of the government. The mission was informed that Captain Safdar, son-in-law of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, wanted to become the PFF’s president. The election rules did not allow him to contest the elections, so he brought in Zahir Shah to fight for PFF presidency.
The delegation was also informed how the PFF secretariat was occupied by the rival group.
The meeting lasted for around six hours, a source said.
Till filing of the story the delegation was in a meeting with Zahir Shah group.
Zahir was accompanied by lawyer Taha Ali Zai, Riaz of WAPDA and Ali Noor Niazi, a former MPA of the PML-N from Mianwali, who was set to contest the election of Punjab Football Association’s (PFA) presidency last April but his nomination papers were rejected.
A source said that former PFF secretary Hafiz Salman Butt was not allowed to sit in the meeting. Arshad Khan Lodhi and Col Farasat, who are serving as acting president and secretary of PFF in the light of the decision of the PFF’s extraordinary congress, were expected to be part of Zahir Shah group in the meeting. But they opted to withdraw when they did not get any response from FIFA’s delegation.