by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Reiterating its support for its affiliated federation led by Faisal Saleh Hayat, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has not considered the request of the newly-elected Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to send a fact-finding delegation to Pakistan.
“Kindly note that as clearly stated and highlighted in our letter dated December 4, 2018, to the Returning Officer Mohammad Shoaib Shaheen, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the AFC, as one of the confederations of FIFA, only recognises the decision taken by the FIFA Associations Committee on September 26, 2018, which confirmed that the mandate of the current Executive Committee of PFF would run until March 2020 in order for the PFF statutes to be reviewed and adopted and fresh elections to be held as per the roadmap approved by FIFA in consultation with the relevant AFC committees and agreed to by PFF by March 2020,” the AFC replied on December 28 to the letter from the newly-elected PFF chief Ashfaq Hussain Shah which he wrote to the AFC chief Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa on December 26.
The copies of both the letters have been obtained by this correspondent.
“In the light of above the AFC does not recognise any such election which is in contravention of the decision of the FIFA Associations Committee, and will continue to work with the current PFF office-bearers i.e. President Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat and the Executive Committee members,” the letter said.
“Further, the AFC is in consultation with FIFA on the future course of action which will be duly intimated to the officially recognised PFF,” said the AFC letter duly signed by its Secretary General Dato Windsor John.
Ashfaq had informed the AFC chief that the PFF’s December 12 elections were held transparently. “The election of PFF was held on December 12, 2018, at the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Engineer Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah was elected as the president, along with three vice-presidents, three women representatives and members of the Executive Committee,” the letter said.
“We would like to . . . assure FIFA and AFC that the elections were held in a transparent manner, in accordance with the PFF Statutes. The elections were ordered by the Supreme Court on an appeal initially filed by Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat. The PFF Congress endorsed this election and its procedure at a meeting on December 4, 2018, with the Returning Officer in chair,” it said.
“FIFA has been misinformed by Faisal Saleh Hayat and Lt Col (retd) Ahmed Yar Lodhi about the circumstances of the elections. The Congress is fully supportive of the change and it is reflected in the voting,” it said.
“The members of PFF Congress request you to send a fact-finding delegation to Pakistan as soon as possible before taking any further actions. We . . . will always follow and respect FIFA and AFC rules and procedures and also abide by the laws of our country,” the letter said.
The newly-elected PFF vice-president Naveed Haider said that the AFC had not rejected their request. “They have not refused but are waiting for FIFA to respond,” he told ‘The News’. “Our stand is based on truth and ground realities in Pakistan,” he added.
FIFA has already hinted at suspension of Pakistan. “Should elections at the PFF take place on a date that is imposed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan this would be considered undue influence in the sense of the FIFA Statutes. Consequently the matter would then be presented to the relevant FIFA bodies for consideration and possible action, which may include the suspension of the PFF,” FIFA had told this correspondent on December 5.
Naveed said that a four-member committee comprising himself, Rizwan Ali (PFF ExCo member), legal consultant Chaudhry Zulfiqar and Sharafat Bukhari, an Islamabad Football Association (IFA) official, will visit the PFF headquarters for assuming charge on December 31.