by Haseeb Bhatti
The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld its order for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to hold a fresh presidential election after Faisal Saleh Hayat, the body’s chief, urged the court to delay the polls.
A three-judge bench headed by the chief justice had, in November, ordered fresh elections of the PFF in a month’s time under the supervision of Pakistan Bar Council member Shoaib Shaheen. The order was passed in order to pull PFF out of a conflict that had split the body into two factions. One is led by Hayat, who is backed by FIFA and the other by Arshad Khan Lodhi.
Hayat, who had filed an application against the order, argued today that the elections would not be recognised by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
“Why wouldn’t the International Football Federation accept the election? The country’s highest court is supervising the polls,” Chief Justice Saqib Nisar contended. He added that the elections would take place in December and rejected the PFF chief’s appeal.
The Supreme Court had ordered an election to be held in April as well, barely a month after FIFA lifted a six-month ban on the PFF for “third-party interference”. At the time, elections for the disputed Punjab Football Association (PFA) were held under the orders of the apex court in May but the presidential election was not held.
In October, FIFA gave Hayat — Pakistan’s football chief since 2003 — a mandate till March 2020 to ratify the PFF Statutes and hold fresh elections.
Following the Supreme Court’s order last month, the world’s football governing body had insisted that the PFF holds elections within the timeline FIFA had set.