by Mohammad Yaqoob
LAHORE: The FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) got its working space on Friday.
The PFF faction led by Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah handed over charge of the PFF House to the Normalisation Committee chairman Humza Khan at a small ceremony, entrusting the committee to work for the growth and betterment of football in the country.
Since being named chairman two weeks ago, this is a step forward for Humza as he seizes total control of football in Pakistan ahead of a nine-month mandate in which his committee has to hold elections all the way from the districts to the PFF executive committee.
Yet he’s only halfway through with the accounts held by the other faction led by Faisal Saleh Hayat yet to be handed over to him.
Hayat was recognised as Pakistan’s football chief by global football body FIFA while Ashfaq was elected as PFF president in an election held under the orders of the Supreme Court in December last year with Pakistan football having been in turmoil since 2015.
The funding by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) comes into accounts controlled by the Hayat faction and the Normalisation Committee’s operational funding will also come in that account.
Handing charge to Humza, Ashfaq declared his body received an amount of Rs170.50 million when he took charge of the PFF headquarters in January.
“Now we are handing over a bank balances of around Rs150.50 million to the Normalisation Committee with the hope it will work within its given mandate to complete the task of the elections in next nine months time,” Ashfaq said at a news conference.
Ashfaq said a major portion of that funding had been fixed in a bank account and he guarded every penny honestly, adding the spent amount was used on holding the first Inter-city Football Championship, Challenge Cup and some coaching courses.
He claimed neither the president nor any vice-presidents of his group charged any allowances from the PFF funds.
Asked if his group now had realised that FIFA was the sole authority to control the PFF, Ashfaq said his group welcomed the arrival of the Normalisation Committee since it wanted a swift resolution of the issue.
“For the sake of the footballers, the Congress and General Body took this decision to welcome the Normalisation Committee appointed by FIFA. Though we can hold tournaments at domestic level, without FIFA we can’t send our footballers abroad, so, we decided to accept the normalisation committee,” he said.
Ashfaq’s vice-presidents Malik Mohammad Aamir Dogar and Syed Zahir Ali Shah echoed his views and hoped that this committee would do justice for footballers who had suffered badly in past years. Another vice-president Sardar Naveed Haider Khan was quoted as saying in a news release that FIFA now has enough material about officials who had been damaging football in Pakistan and justice will be served sooner or later.
Ashfaq questioned the Hayat faction why it was showing reluctance to the Normalisation Committee. “Hayat has been very vocal about FIFA but why is he not accepting the Normalisation Committee.”
Hayat had written to FIFA after the Normalisation Committee was appointed, saying he had reservations over Humza being its chairman. However, FIFA rejected those complaints.
Since taking charge, the Normalisation Committee removed Hayat’s long-serving secretary general retired Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi, replacing him on an interim basis with retired Col Mujahidullah Tareen, who is a member of the committee.
On Friday, Mujahid announced that the PFF will be holding three-day trials in Layyah from October 4, to select the national team for the AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers. The qualifiers will be played in Iraq from November 2 with Nasir Ismail named the head coach for the team.