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Sports

October 12, 2017

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FIFA suspends PFF membership

FIFA suspends PFF membership

PESHAWAR: And finally it has happened. Pakistan was left in the wilderness on Wednesday when FIFA suspended its football federation (PFF) due to the illegal occupation of the federation’s headquarters in Lahore and its accounts by a third party.

There is a clear indication that the world body will still stand by its recognised PFF as it said that unless the PFF headquarters and accounts were handed over to the PFF, the suspension would not be lifted.

“FIFA has decided to suspend the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) with immediate effect in accordance with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council dated 10 October 2017 on account of undue third-party interference,” FIFA told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

“The Bureau took this decision as a result of the fact that the PFF offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator, which constitutes a violation of the PFF obligations to manage its affairs independently and without influence from any third parties in accordance with the FIFA Statutes,” it added.

“Following its suspension, the PFF loses all its membership rights as defined in article 13 of the FIFA Statutes. The PFF representative and club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted,” the world body said.

“This also means that neither the PFF nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any development programmes, courses or training from FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). “Moreover, and in accordance with article 16 para. 3 of the FIFA Statutes, other member associations may not entertain sporting contact with the PFF during its suspension,” it appended.

The step taken by FIFA will hurt no less than 70,000 footballers who have already been facing the brunt of the years-long conflict that has not only stifled their football careers but also their economic growth.

“The suspension will be lifted once the PFF offices and access to the PFF accounts are returned to the PFF,” FIFA said.

FIFA had almost decided to extend the PFF’s tenure for two more years following recommendations of the AFC but due to various issues the world body thought that without suspension it would not be possible to resolve the issue. “The government now should learn the lesson and immediately resolve the issue,” a key player of the current Pakistan team told ‘The News’. “Otherwise we would face huge financial and career problems,” he added.

He said that it would be wise to follow FIFA rules, which is backing Pakistan financially. Pakistan was to host FIFA World Cup trophy’s arrival early next year but if the PFF remained suspended the honour would be given to India.

The conflict was created by controversial elections of Punjab Football Association (PFA) in April 2015. The PFF imposed a lengthy ban on members of the former PFA. After a few days, an extra-ordinary congress was convened by the parallel body in Islamabad which suspended the PFF chief Faisal Saleh Hayat and terminated the services of the PFF secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi.

The elections had been held despite a court stay order.

In August 2015 FIFA sent a fact-finding mission to Lahore. Later it gave two years to PFF with the advice to revise the constitution and hold elections by September 2017.

But due to frozen accounts and occupation of PFF headquarters, the PFF failed to take any step under FIFA’s instructions.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) declared the PFF June 30, 2015, elections null and void and appointed former justice Asad Muneer as PFF administrator who is still working in the same capacity.

LHC in February this year gave a verdict which could not resolve the issue. The Supreme Court set aside the LHC judgment and referred the case back to it with the instructions to decide it on merit. The next hearing will be held on October 17.

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