by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Following the law of the land and violating the agreement which the government of Pakistan had signed with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2014, Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has recognised the newly-elected Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).
“The PSB has no objection to open/operate bank accounts by PFF authorised signatories on account of its being PSB affiliated sports federation/organisation,” the PSB wrote in response to a letter from the newly-elected PFF.
When this correspondent asked PSB Deputy Director General Technical Mohammad Azam Dar about the Board’s decision to affiliate the new body, he said the elections were fair and transparent so the Board recognised the new body.
“When Supreme Court conducted elections can I refuse?” he was quick to add when his attention was drawn towards the Lausanne Agreement. “We had sent our observer and he reported that the elections were fair, so we decided to recognise the new body,” Dar added.
The Supreme Court in its last month’s order said: “Therefore the newly-elected office-bearers shall be recognised as the office-bearers representing PFF worldwide.” After the Lausanne Agreement, the PSB had mentioned in its letter to national federations that the PSB would deal with only those federations which are recognised by their international bodies.
“A meeting was held in Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 19, 2014, to resolve the issues relating to Olympic movement in Pakistan. The meeting was attended by the representatives of the government of Pakistan and delegates of IOC, OCA and POA. It was mutually agreed that the government of Pakistan would deal with only those sports federations which are recognised by their respective international bodies,” says the PSB’s letter it wrote to national federations on September 9, 2014.
“The government has decided that the PSB may affiliate and fund only those federations which are recognised by their respective International Federations (IFs) and meeting criteria of PSB affiliation in future,” the letter adds.
The newly-elected PFF, headed by Ashfaq Hussain Shah, has taken control of the PFF headquarters and accounts from the FIFA-recognised PFF under the instructions of the apex court.
With both FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) still backing Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF, the new body conducted the culminating section of the Pakistan Premier Football League which concluded here on January 13.
Not knowing much about the Lausanne Agreement, the newly-elected PFF vice-president Naveed Haider appreciated the decision to recognise his body. “It’s a good decision. It will help us a lot,” Naveed told ‘The News’ on Thursday.
“We will be able to utilise the state infrastructure and other facilities as we plan to strengthen our domestic football. We plan to hold events of every age group, both men and women, to put a new life in the country’s domestic football,” Naveed said.
He said that they would keep pursuing their case till the time they convinced both FIFA and AFC to accept the reality.
FIFA-recognised PFF had disaffiliated itself from the PSB in the wake of the government’s decision a few years ago that the tenure-restriction clause of the national sports policy would be strictly implemented.