by Umaid Wasim
KARACHI: K-Electric’s efforts to create history have ended in disgrace — and a $2000 fine.
The fine comes six months after Dawn exclusively revealed that the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) champions were in peril following a bungled player transfer, with the player in question featuring in the AFC Cup Qualifying Playoff in August last year.
And the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has punished the club for the infringement.
Pakistan champions’ AFC Cup qualifying playoff matches forfeited
“The AFC Disciplinary Committee dealt with the case at its meeting on June 30,” a spokesperson of the continent’s football governing body told Dawn on Friday.
“It ordered K-Electric FC to pay a fine of US$2,000. In addition, two of its matches have been forfeited: 1. Against Druk United FC of Bhutan on Aug 11, 2015; and 2. Against Khoromkhon FC of Mongolia on Aug 13, 2015.”
The case first came to the fore in January when AFC contacted the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), inquiring about the International Transfer Certificates (ITC) for two Britain-based players of Pakistani origin — Shani Abbasi and Irfan Khan.
An ITC is generated by FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) and requires details and documentation to be fed into the system so the player’s registration can be transferred between the two countries — in this case between the PFF and English Football Association (FA).
K-Electric did not get ITCs for the duo since they claimed Shani and Irfan had Pakistani passports as well.
Amid huge fanfare, Shani and Irfan came to K-Electric alongside Majid Shafiq, a Britain-based coach, who managed the side during the AFC Cup qualifying playoff where they drew 3-3 with Druk United and beat Khoromkhon 1-0 to top their section.
However, they lost to Bahrain’s Al Hidd in a one-off playoff match in February — missing the chance to create history by becoming the first Pakistan side to feature in Asia’s second-tier club competition.
Dawn had been told by a club source that while the AFC did not have an issue with Shani, the issue revolved around Irfan, who was registered with the FA and required an ITC to feature in the AFC qualifying playoff. And the detailed judgement shows exactly that.
The fine of $2000 is for violating “Article 55 of the AFC Disciplinary Code 2014 Edition (Code) on two (2) occasions” in the AFC Cup qualifying playoff.
Article 55 states: “If a player is fielded in an official match despite being ineligible, his team will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match (cf. art. 31) and paying a minimum fine of USD1,000.00.”
K-Electric have been given 30 days to settle the fine.
Apart from the fine, a 3-0 victory has been awarded to both Druk United and Khoromkhon.
The Khoromkhon-K-Electric match, however, was declared null and void following an earlier violation made by the Mongolian club.
“K-Electric FC is informed that a repeat violation of these provisions will be met with more severe punishment,” the judgement concludes.
With designs of playing against some of the continent’s better sides in the AFC Cup, K-Electric began a journey with huge expectations — the club holding big send-off ceremonies for its team and creating a lot of hype on social media.
Their paperwork glitch — with the PFF equally at fault for not advising the side — has seen K-Electric end with an egg on their face.
Their ‘great’ results in the AFC Cup qualifying playoff don’t stand anymore.