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March 20, 2019

FIFA committee to discuss Pakistan’s status on April 3


March 20, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan football’s status will come under discussion when FIFA Member Associations Committee meets on April 3, the world football governing body (FIFA) said on Tuesday.

“We can confirm that the FIFA Member Associations Committee meeting is scheduled for 3 April, 2019, and the situation of the PFF will be on the agenda. Details will follow,” a FIFA spokesperson told ‘The News’ on Tuesday.

When asked if FIFA had asked the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) for sharing the Supreme Court’s recent order with it, the spokesperson said it had. “We haven’t been officially informed about the said matter and therefore are not yet in a position to comment. However, please note that we have contacted the PFF to send details about it,” the spokesperson said.

The Supreme Court, after hearing review appeals of Faisal Saleh Hayat and others, disposed of the matter on March 13 and allowed the applicants to avail themselves of the remedy available to them before the appropriate forum.

“Having heard learned counsel for the applicants, it seems that they have some grievance after the elections have been conducted and new management of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has been inducted. If they have such grievance, obviously, the law must have provided remedy to them,” the Supreme Court March 13 order said. “The learned counsel for the applicants states that they may be allowed to avail the remedy available to them before the appropriate forum. In this view of the matter these applications are disposed of. The applicants may avail the remedy, if available to them, before the appropriate forum in accordance with law,” said the order of the three-member bench. A copy of the order is available with this correspondent.

‘The News’ has learnt that the FIFA-recognised PFF will forward the details of the legal outcome to FIFA after thoroughly deliberating on the order.

Elections of the PFF were conducted on December 12, 2018, under the Supreme Court’s instructions. Ashfaq Hussain Shah of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was elected as the PFF president. The newly-formed body was then handed over the PFF headquarters and accounts on December 31, 2018, as per the apex court’s instructions.

Ashfaq-led body supervised the last few matches of the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) here in January. Rawalpindi-based Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) won the league title for a record fifth time after crushing Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) 4-0 in a one-sided last league game here at KPT Stadium on January 13.

Ashfaq’s PFF also held its Executive Committee meeting recently. Its decisions will be ratified by its Congress which meets on March 26 at Lahore.

The issue has been badly affecting Pakistan’s football since April 2015 when a cleavage in the football community was created during elections of Punjab Football Association (PFA). After a few years the PFA elections were held again under the Supreme Court instructions.

FIFA in August 2015 sent a fact-finding delegation to Lahore. After holding meetings with both the groups, it submitted its report before FIFA and the latter gave two years to Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF until September 2017 with the instructions to revise its constitution and hold fresh elections.

When the PFF could not act as advised by FIFA due to certain reasons the world body in October 2018 extended the PFF mandate until March 2020.

FIFA had, in October 2017, suspended Pakistan for third party’s interference. However, the suspension was lifted in March 2018, days after Lahore High Court (LHC) restored PFF.

Pakistan has withdrawn its entry from the Olympic qualifying round which begins at Uzbekistan from March 22.