by Umaid Wasim
KARACHI: The suspension has been lifted, the funding is resuming and the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) will also get its allocation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets.
However the status of the PFF remains unclear and therefore global football body FIFA will send a mission to Pakistan to decide the further course of action.
A day after FIFA lifted the ban on the country, a FIFA spokesperson told Dawn that “a mission will visit Pakistan in the near future to assess the situation and decide on next steps”.
Even with the ban having been lifted, uncertainty prevails since the two-year term given to PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat in September 2015 by FIFA has expired.
In its statement announcing the lifting of the suspension, FIFA said it “continues to closely follow the situation of the PFF”.
The ban was imposed in October last year after FIFA said the presence of a court-appointed administrator handling the PFF affairs was a contravention of its statutes which prohibit outside influence on the independence of their member associations.
The administrator was appointed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in August 2015 after a dispute erupted in the PFF in the lead-up to its presidential elections in June that year.
Last month, the LHC validated Hayat’s election as president but the state of the PFF body remains confusing because the honourable court also upheld an election of Hayat’s rival faction in the provincial Punjab Football Association (PFA). Hayat claims the PFA president is from his own faction.
The case has now been moved to the Supreme Court and with the dispute not entirely resolved, the FIFA mission might recommend the installation of a normalisation committee.
FIFA had also sent a mission to Pakistan in August 2015 and Hayat’s body had complained to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that it was “utterly disappointed” with its conduct.
Reliable sources have told Dawn that the mission wasn’t satisfied with the way Hayat’s body had conducted the presidential election and it was only thanks to AFC’s persistence that FIFA gave Hayat’s faction a two-year mandate to ratify its statutes and conduct fresh elections.
While FIFA had stopped PFF’s funding back in October 2016, Dawn revealed that the AFC only stopped funding the PFF after the ban was imposed.
With the lifting of the suspension, however, PFF is now eligible to receive funding and is set to receive a bumper $4million thanks to FIFA’s new Forward Football Development Programme.
It will also receive its allocation of World Cup tickets for this year’s edition in Russia. Dawn has revealed how the PFF sold tickets for the 2014 World Cup tickets at inflated prices.
Moreover, the PFF will also now be able to vote for the 2026 World Cup host during the 2018 FIFA Congress on June 13 in Moscow, where Morocco is competing against a North American bid by the United States, Canada and Mexico.