by Umaid Wasim
KARACHI: Humza Khan termed it a “very difficult decision”. It’s probably just the beginning.
The chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) had vowed on Tuesday he would have to take tough decisions to bring Pakistan football out of its recent crisis.
On Wednesday, Humza took his first, removing long-serving PFF secretary general Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi from his post.
“It was an unfortunate, very difficult decision,” Humza told Dawn after chairing the first meeting of the five-member Normalisation Committee in Lahore. “The removal wasn’t based on performance. It was taken to ensure neutrality in the PFF secretariat. We decided in the meeting that it wouldn’t be fair to have anyone in the PFF administration who was associated with either of the two factions.”
Lodhi was made the PFF secretary general in 2007 when he when he was elevated from his previous post of director administration. He was the closest aide of Faisal Saleh Hayat, Pakistan’s football chief since 2003.
A controversial election by the Hayat-led group in 2015 saw the PFF split into two factions, plunging Pakistan football into unprecedented crisis and FIFA finally took action in June when it announced it was appointing a Normalisation Committee to not only run the day to day affairs of the PFF but also hold fresh elections by June next year.
As chairman of the committee, Humza has the same powers as that of the PFF president and the normalisation committee can hire or fire officials.
“I would like to thank Col Lodhi for his great services to Pakistan football and would once again reiterate that the decision has been taken in the best interests of Pakistan football.”
Although Humza did not confirm, sources told Dawn that former PFF secretary general retired Col Mujahidullah Tareen, who is one of the four members of the normalisation committee, has been made the acting secretary general.
On Monday, Lodhi was part of the SAFF Executive Committee that decided to shift the 2020 edition of the SAFF Championship from Pakistan to Bangladesh.
Despite repeated attempts by Dawn, Lodhi did not comment on his removal.