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April 11, 2019

FIFA postpones sending mission to Pakistan


April 11, 2019

KARACHI: FIFA has postponed the visit of its mission to Pakistan until late May, a FIFA spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"The visit was initially scheduled for 24-25 April but at the request of PFF’s President and General Secretary it has been postponed to a later date in May," the spokesperson told ‘The News’.

A few days ago, FIFA Member Associations Committee had decided at its meeting in Zurich that a joint mission of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) would visit Pakistan to talk to all parties, assess the situation and at a later stage make concrete proposals for the way forward.

FIFA recognises Faisal Saleh Hayat as the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) president. But in Supreme Court-ordered elections a new body has been formed and Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah is its president. The same PFF started working from January 1, 2019, at the domestic level. It not only supervised the last stage of the country’s Premier League but is also going to conduct an inter-city event.

Because of the issue Pakistan missed Olympic Qualifiers first stage at Uzbekistan last month. And the nation is also on the verge of missing out the World Cup Qualifiers to be held later this summer if the issue was not resolved by FIFA.

This would be the second time when FIFA would be sending its mission to Pakistan. It sent a three-member fact-finding mission to Lahore in 2015 after which the world body gave Faisal’s PFF two years until September 2017 to revise its constitution and hold fresh elections.

When the PFF could not act as advised by FIFA, the world body in October 2018 extended the PFF mandate until March 2020. In October 2017, FIFA suspended Pakistan because of "third party’s interference". However, the suspension was lifted in March 2018, days after Lahore High Court (LHC) restored PFF.

The Supreme Court on March 13, 2019, disposed of the matter after hearing the review petitions from Faisal and others, allowing the applicants to avail themselves of the remedy available to them before the appropriate forum.

According to sources it was the FIFA-recognised PFF which had requested the world body to send a fact-finding mission to Pakistan.

Because of the issue which emerged in early 2015, Pakistan missed several international events. Besides, there was no Premier League for three seasons which inflicted a huge loss on national footballers.

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