by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Former president of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah on Saturday said that he hopes that the PFF Normalisation Committee would hold fair and transparent elections.
“Yes I hope that the NC will hold fair and transparent elections which are absolutely necessary to bring the country’s football out of the crisis,” Ashfaq told ‘The News’ in an interview from Islamabad.
Ashfaq served as PFF chief for around 11 months and his body, which had been elected as a result of the Supreme Court-ordered elections, handed the control to the PFF NC appointed by FIFA last September.
The NC had been given nine months by the world football governing body until this June but due to its laxity and COVID-19 pandemic it could not hold the PFF elections. FIFA then gave the NC extension in its tenure until December 31.
It is expected that NC will be able to hold the PFF elections on December 30 after holding elections at district and provincial levels.
Ashfaq said that he is observing how NC is working. “Yes, I am observing how it is working. We had given the whole control of the PFF headquarters and accounts to Alex Gros and his team in good faith. NC people have been chosen by FIFA and they are expected to do the things well,” Ashfaq said.
However, he was quick to add that there was no room for mistake. “There is no room for mistake at this stage,” Ashfaq said.
When asked whether he is satisfied with the steps taken by NC, Ashfaq said: “I cannot comment on this but time will make everything clear.”
He said that he would go with those people who were sincere with football. “It does not matter for me who becomes the president but I want those people to lead football who belong to this sport and feel pain for this game and footballers,” Ashfaq said.
“During the 11 months when I was PFF chief I tried according to my capacity to serve the game with less expenditures and if I get another chance I will work for the game promotion,” Ashfaq pledged.
“You know I am a football lover. My grandfather, my father and all my family belong to football and I will keep serving the sport in any capacity,” Ashfaq said.
When asked whether he had developed differences with Zahir Shah, he said, “Let people talk. My desire is to see football flourishing in the country.
“There is immense talent here. We can do anything if we are committed,” Ashfaq said.
If elections were held as per PFF Constitution 2015, then Ashfaq would be the most likely candidate for the PFF presidency.
However, it is not yet known which group he will represent.
When asked what would happen if PFF NC failed to hold elections, Ashfaq said, “I think if it happens FIFA itself may review the situation. I will discuss the situation with my Congress and then will decide the things,” Ashfaq said.