by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) group led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah decided to continue to hold control of the headquarters in Lahore despite pressure from various quarters on Wednesday.
“After consulting our executive council and congress we have come to the conclusion that we continue holding the PFF headquarters till such time as some other Normalisation Committee comes in and we start discussion,” Ashfaq said in a video message.
FIFA on Tuesday had set Wednesday 8pm as deadline for Ashfaq group to hand over the PFF headquarters to the FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee, threatening that otherwise it would suspend Pakistan’s membership.
“I assure Pakistan government that we don’t have any bad intentions and I also assure FIFA that we again will stretch our hand of friendship but it should be on equality basis. Do what is acceptable. What they (NCs) have done is not acceptable,” said Ashfaq, who became head of PFF as a result of the elections held in December 2018 under the directives of the Supreme Court.
He said they had handed over administrative charge to NC in September 2019 in good faith but it disappointed them. “We had handed over it the administrative charge wholeheartedly. We hoped that NC would hold fair and transparent elections but in 18 months not a single step was taken towards holding elections,” Ashfaq said.
“We are the legitimate stakeholders of the PFF headquarters. The elections were held in the building of the Supreme Court under the directives of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,” Ashfaq said. “After serving ten to 11 months we welcomed Normalisation Committee, but what was done in the 18 months?” Ashfaq questioned.
“The first committee spent 14 months and for reasons best known to FIFA and AFC it dropped the committee. And when the second committee came it revoked the decisions of the first committee. What about the expenses and other things?
“Then the second committee also was dissolved within one month. And when the third committee came it revoked the decisions of the second committee.
“It could not hold elections of a few thousands clubs. When an interim government comes it holds elections of 220 million people within three months,” he said. “They did not take a single step towards elections. They remained busy in their own programmes,” Ashfaq said.
“I kept on informing FIFA of every event happening in Pakistan but nothing happened. And today we are given deadline that this and this will happen. Have I killed anyone? We are fighting for the football stakeholders,” he said.
“FIFA has been giving 50,000 dollars and 25,000 dollars to them. Ask them where they spent the money.
“I will request FIFA to hold accountable those who had been appointed in NC,” Ashfaq said.
Meanwhile, NC chairman Haroon Malik termed the development unfortunate. “It’s a dark and sad day for the football lovers,” Haroon told ‘The News’.
Syed Zahir Shah, a former football official, urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to intervene. “The PM is a sportsman and should intervene immediately. It is the matter of millions of those people whose bread and butter is attached with football,” Shah said while talking to ‘The News’.