by Natasha Raheel [Express Tribune]
KARACHI: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat says FIFA’s decision to keep him in office for another two years proves his stance of being the rightful authority.
Following a six-month long internal conflict between two factions of the PFF, FIFA’s Executive Committee recognised Hayat on Friday as president of the country’s national association.
The decision came after the FIFA Members Association Committee discussed the issue for two days in Zurich based on the findings of a three-member mission that visited Lahore at the end of July.
According to the FIFA letter, the international body has asked Hayat to hold PFF elections within two years after making required amendments in the PFF statutes that mainly asks to have an independent judicial bodies in the PFF.
“The process will be carried out under the supervision of Costakis Koutsokoumnis, member of the Associations Committee, who will report every six months with updates until the end of the process,” stated the letter.
The letter does not mention the 2015 PFF elections that took place in Changla Gali on June 30 and became a bone of contention between Hayat and the Lahore High Court [LHC], which had not been in favour of holding the elections at all.
Earlier, the other faction— led by Arshad Lodhi and Farasat Ali Shah — had tried to overthrow Hayat after holding an Extra-Ordinary Congress meeting in Islamabad two weeks before the June 30 elections. They had made allegations of fund embezzlement and succeeded before the elections overshadowed the ousting.
According to Hayat, FIFA’s decision has undermined any third-party interference. “FIFA has openly backed me,” he said. “This means they recognise all that has been done under me. This also includes the June 30 elections.”
He added that the next step was to update their statutes. “We’ve had some grey areas: we don’t have a set constitution for provinces and district elections. We had planned in the 2014 PFF congress meeting that changes will be made by 2015, but we couldn’t initiate the plan due to the ongoing issue. According to this letter, I’ll have to conduct the elections in two years’ time.”
Meanwhile, the FIFA letter strongly condemned the LHC for appointing an administrator — Asad Munir — to take control of the PFF during this troublesome period. “Article 13.1 let i) and 17 of the FIFA Statutes requests member associations to manage their affairs independently and without influence of any third parties. Violations might lead to sanctions, including the suspension of the PFF,” read the letter.
FIFA v LHC
According to Munir, he has not received any direction from the LHC, which he is solely answerable to and not FIFA.
“The FIFA decision in many ways is vague. If it had recognised the Changla Gali elections then it should’ve let Hayat stay for a complete term of four years, but it didn’t mention that,” he said. “My job is to sort out the matter as soon as possible. I’m taking care of the PFF’s day-to-day affairs as well as the audit of their accounts. I have no intention of staying though. We are looking at re-elections mainly, that was the LHC’s point of view.”
Hayat will be appearing at the LHC on October 9, where he will present FIFA’s letter.
The Express Tribune wrote to FIFA after the decision was announced, but they referred back to their media statement.