by Umaid Wasim
KARACHI: Faisal Saleh Hayat had told his supporters that their protests against the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) will bear fruit after he attends the AFC Executive Committee meeting in Vietnam.
A change has been made to the composition of the Normalisation Committee, FIFA said on Friday. It wouldn’t have been pleasing for the former PFF chief though.
The world’s football governing body told Dawn in a statement that it had replaced Syed Najib Hasan Shah, a member of the Humza Khan-led Normalisation Committee nominated by Hayat, with Asma Bilal.
“FIFA understands that there have been several issues with one individual who had been originally appointed as a member of the PFF normalisation committee,” FIFA said, without naming Najib.
“Consequently, the composition of the PFF normalisation committee has changed and is now as follows: – Mr Humza Khan (chairperson); – Ms Asma Bilal (member); – Mr Sikander Khattak (member); – Mr Munir Ahmed Khan Sadhana (member); – Col Mujahidullah Tareen (member).”
FIFA appointed the Normalisation Committee in June following four years of crisis in the PFF sparked by a controversial election held by Hayat.
Although FIFA did not elaborate on the issues with Najib, sources have told Dawn that he had family and business links with Hayat.
Najib, along with fellow Hayat-nominated member Munir, had written letters to both the presidents and general secretaries of FIFA and AFC against the Normalsation Committee, calling it a “non-starter right from the beginning” with the appointments of Humza and Mujahid, who they termed “highly controversial persons”, accusing them of supporting Hayat’s rival faction led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah.
On Hayat’s call, his supporters had been organising protests in various parts of the country. Shameful scenes have been witnessed at the protests with effigies burnt and Alexandre Gros, the FIFA official who oversaw the appointment of the Normalisation Committee, was also targeted.
Asma will start her work with the committee immediately but she will have to pass an eligibility check.
“As per standard procedures, while Ms Bilal will assume her function with immediate effect, her final confirmation is conditional upon the successful completion of an eligibility check carried out by the FIFA Review Committee in accordance with the FIFA Governance Regulations,” FIFA said, adding that Humza along with the three other members had cleared the check.
“FIFA has today confirmed that four members of the normalisation committee, namely Mr Humza Khan, Mr Sikander Khattak, Mr Munir Ahmed Khan Sadhana and Col. Mujahidullah Tareen, have undergone eligibility checks carried out by the FIFA Review Committee in accordance with the FIFA Governance Regulations. We can confirm that the four aforementioned persons have been declared eligible for the position in question.”
Hayat, who is an AFC vice-president, attended the AFC Executive Committee meeting in the Vietnamese coastal city of Da Nang last week.
Well-placed sources have told Dawn that Hayat was vocal against the Normalisation Committee on the sidelines of the meeting but the AFC said that no discussions took place during the meeting.
“Nothing was discussed in the meeting,” an AFC spokesperson told Dawn when asked if the Pakistan matter came under discussion in Vietnam.
In 2015, AFC’s influence had averted the appointment of a Normalisation Committee for the PFF. Things, however, have changed now. Despite opposition from its own vice-president, the AFC is standing with the Normalisation Committee.
“We have said we support [the Normalisation Committee] on numerous occasions,” the AFC spokesperson added.