KARACHI: FIFA has clarified that it recognises Faisal Saleh Hayat and the remaining executive committee members who stood for election on June 30, 2015, as office-bearers of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) for two years.
FIFA’s clarification came through a letter its deputy secretary general Marco Villiger wrote on November 3 in reply to a letter by Arshad Khan Lodhi sent on October 7.
Arshad, a former PFF secretary and congress member, is head of the rival faction which has challenged the status of Faisal as PFF chief in court.
“We acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated October 7, 2015, the contents of which received our full attention. With regard to the current situation of the PFF, FIFA is bound by the decision taken by its executive committee on September 25, 2015 and will focus on its full implementation under the supervision of Costakis Koutsokoumnis,” FIFA said in the letter.
“In particular, the FIFA executive committee decided that Faisal Saleh Hayat and the remaining PFF executive committee members who stood for elections in June 30, 2015, are recognised as the PFF office-bearers for a two-year period during which a revision of the PFF statutes need to be completed and new elections held,” the letter said.
“Consequently the occupation of the PFF premises is deemed illegal and they must be returned to the leadership recognised by the FIFA executive committee,” the letter added.
“Finally, we would like to point out that FIFA generally only entertains official correspondence with and through its member associations,” it said.
In order to investigate the matter, FIFA in early August had sent a three-member fact-finding mission to Lahore which held marathon meetings with both the factions of the PFF.
The matter was then discussed in the FIFA member associations committee in Zurich on September 21 and its executive committee meeting on September 24 and 25.
It was decided that the current PFF leadership including Faisal would be given two years (until September 2017) to revise the PFF statutes and organise elections.
It was also decided that this process would be carried out under the supervision of FIFA’s member associations committee Costakis who would report after every six months to the associations committee until the end of the process.
Both FIFA committees reached a consensus and made it clear that the appointment of the administrator for the PFF by the Lahore High Court (LHC) is contrary to articles 13.1 and 17 of the FIFA statutes that require the member associations to manage their affairs independently and without influence from any third party.
FIFA had warned at that time that violations of such obligations might lead to sanctions, including the suspension of the PFF.
FIFA executive committee had also stated that the PFF judicial bodies were not properly formed because of the lack of separation of powers.
It was recommended that the judicial bodies should be re-organised in order to comply with the international standard regulations and sanctions should be lifted which were imposed by the disciplinary bodies of the PFF.
A legal battle on various fronts between the two factions is going on and the courts’ decision would play a key role in the settlement of the matter.
Pakistan’s government had struck a deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a couple of years ago in which it had been agreed that Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) would recognise only those federations which are recognised by their International Federations (IFs).
The PSB is also in a legal battle with the Faisal-led PFF over tenure restriction clause of the national sports policy.
But as per Supreme Court’s verdict of May 8, 2012, a federation is bound to accept the rules of the PSB if it is affiliated with it. Keeping in view the apex court’s decision and the government’s deal with the IOC, the PSB may seek direction from the Prime Minister on the issue. A summary is being forwarded to the prime minister in this respect.
Following FIFA’s decision, if anything went against Faisal-led PFF, Pakistan might face sanctions from the world body.