by Abdul Mohi Shah
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President Faisal Saleh Hayat hoped to get FIFA ban on Pakistan lifted within weeks and at the same time lamented the loss of three crucial years that has forced his body to take start from scratch.
In an exclusive talk with ‘The News’ on Tuesday, the PFF president said those who worked against his genuinely elected body damaged the very base of football in the country. “Now we have to do the repair work right from the scratch. Those elements that had the backing of political forces ruined three crucial years of Pakistan football. They should be made accountable as we were the elected body and supported by FIFA.”
Only last week high court reinstated Faisal-led body and declared it genuine.Faisal assured that the game’s governing body FIFA would lift the ban — imposed on Pakistan in October 2017 — within weeks. “While imposing international ban on Pakistan, FIFA clearly said that unless and until the elected body headed by Faisal Saleh Hayat would not get the football’s financial and administrative powers, ban would continue. We have taken over football reigns just this week and have already secured administrative and financial powers.
“We would write a letter to FIFA within days, assuring it that all powers have been shifted to the elected body. Hopefully, ban would be lifted within weeks,” Faisal said. The PFF president said that three years back Pakistan team was on the move beating highly-ranked Afghanistan and even edging out arch-rivals India in India (2014) on better goal average in a friendly series.
“Our players started getting millions as leading player Kaleem alone secured a hefty amount deal internationally. Then the lull period started when our offices in Lahore were forcefully taken over in June 2015 by none other than the people having strong political backing and support,” he said.
He lamented the lost time due to political interference. “Can anyone make them accountable? Those who tried to wrest the PFF powers through force have actually tried to destroy the very base of game in the country. Believe me, today the PFF offices in Lahore are in shambles as all the furniture either has been stolen or is in bad shape.”
Faisal questioned the Rs one million per month expenditures of the offices during the last three years without any activity and justification. “This amount was spent from the grant we receive from FIFA. Besides game loss, financial losses also left its bad impact. If those people who took over the office had any love for the game, they should have generated activities. Nothing had been done as these three years had been totally barren.”
Faisal plans to hold executive committee meeting within days to consider ways and means to restart football activities in the country. “Executive body meeting would be convened shortly to discuss with members the current position and to evolve a plan to restart national and international football activities in the country.”
The PFF also plans to write a letter to Minister IPC Mian Riaz Hussain Peerzada, requesting him to release all the pending grant of federation in an effort to set the things rolling.