by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: FIFA is not happy with the situation of Pakistan’s football and it may impose a lengthy ban on the country if it fails to correct its own house.
Credible sources told ‘The News’ on Friday that FIFA’s senior officials are furious over the situation in Pakistan football and are considering imposing a five-year ban on the country if the situation is not resolved in a few days at the local level.
FIFA the other day suspended Pakistan and has said that the suspension will be lifted only after it receives a confirmation from the PFF Normalisation Committee that it has achieved complete access to the PFF headquarters, accounts and other necessary channels and can operate independently.
FIFA suspended Pakistan after a group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah ignored its deadline for handing over the PFF headquarters back to the NC.
On the advice of some influential people a dialogue had also been initiated a few days ago between the NC and the Ashfaq group but it failed.
The Ashfaq group has been repeatedly saying that it is open to dialogue with FIFA and AFC.
Sources said that FIFA was expected to impose sanctions on the Ashfaq-led PFF Congress members.
NC sources said that they had prepared an election roadmap and were going to send it to FIFA for approval when the incident occurred.
“Everything was ready,” a source said.
The IPC minister Fehmida Mirza also is not happy with FIFA’s decision to suspend Pakistan. “The suspension of PFF by the FIFA Bureau is highly painful and absolutely shocking to the millions of football fans,” Fehmida said.
“The decision taken hurriedly by the FIFA Council is uncalled for as the Government of Pakistan has already condemned the act of taking over of Football House by a faction of PFF in unequivocal terms. Efforts are being made to bring both parties to the table. The Normalisation Committee is also being requested to announce the roadmap for elections of PFF in line with the directions of FIFA,” she said.
“The PFF and the Normalization Committee are autonomous bodies and the government is playing the role of mediator so as to restore the normal activities of football in the country,” she said.
The IPC minister once again requested all the factions of PFF to amicably resolve their disputes through dialogue.
She also appealed to FIFA authorities to lift the suspension for the sake of football fans in Pakistan.
She said the government pledges to facilitate the FIFA in peaceful resolution of the matter while upholding the international obligations.
The situation turned complicated after the FIFA-installed NC failed to do anything towards holding the PFF elections during the last 18 months.
The NC had been initially installed in September 2019 with a mandate of nine months which was twice extended for six months each. NC had at its disposal just three months when the Ashfaq group re-assumed the administrative charge which it had handed it to NC in September 2019.
Because of the Ashfaq group’s takeover, the NC ended the National Women Football Championship. The Ashfaq group wanted to complete it but the pullout of some major teams meant that could not happen. Pakistan had previously been suspended for six months, from October 2017 to March 2018.