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FIFA delegation briefed by PFFs’ officials in separate meetings

By Our Correspondent
May 29, 2019

KARACHI: A four-member joint mission of FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Tuesday held meetings with the teams of FIFA-recognised Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and Ashfaq Hussain Shah-led PFF at Lahore.

The mission reached Lahore Monday night via different flights. The mission, which is headed by Head of MA Governance FIFA Luca Nicola, includes Senior Manager MA Governance and Services FIFA Alexander Holt, Deputy Director Legal AFC Andrew Mercer and Senior MA Manager AFC Purushotam Kattel.

At 12 pm on Tuesday, a four-member FIFA-recognised PFF headed by its General Secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi briefed the mission in a meeting which lasted for one and a half hours. Lodhi was assisted by Director Finance Nadia Naqvi, Manager Clubs and League Shahid Khokhar and Deputy General Secretary Fahad Khan.

This correspondent learnt that the mission was thoroughly briefed about what had happened since 2015.The 2018 PFF elections held under the instructions of Supreme Court also came under discussion.

The subjects of state interference and manipulation of departments, and the government’s violation of the MoU which it signed with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were also highlighted. At 2pm, Ashfaq-led PFF’s two-member legal team, comprising Chaudhry Zulfiqar and Taha Ali Zai, briefed the mission.

The meeting lasted for three hours.

Earlier, Ashfaq-led body had sent a six-member list to FIFA for meeting with the mission comprising president, three vice-presidents and two legal advisors.

However, the emergency Congress of the body on Tuesday decided with consensus that only Taha and Zulfiqar should present the case of the body before the FIFA mission.

‘The News’ learnt that Ashfaq’s team presented its case vigorously and with documentary proofs. The mission was informed about the 2018 PFF elections and the PFF elections of 2015 held in Changla Galli.

The mission was told that the quorum was not complete in 2015 elections.

The mission was also presented with the documents regarding the alleged corruption of the FIFA recognised PFF and other related issues, sources said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the other day the mission had refused to meet Ashfaq-led PFF vice-president Naved Haider because of his suspension by the Punjab Football Association (PFA), which he headed for the last four years.

When asked whether it was a partial boycott that only the legal team was sent to meet the mission, a senior official of the Ashfaq-led body said there was no boycott and it was the decision of the Congress to let its legal team present its case.

“Faisal has also sent his secretary and others to meet the mission,” the official said.

Some of the close aids of Ashfaq-led body were not happy with the decision to send only the legal team for talks with the mission.

“In my opinion Ashfaq should have met with the mission,” a source, very close to Ashfaq-led PFF, said.

The mission will hold another session with the FIFA-recognised PFF on Wednesday (today).It will also meet representatives of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on Wednesday (today).

Some Congress members of PFF are also expected to meet the mission on Wednesday.

A FIFA delegation visited Pakistan in August 2015, just months after the conflict started between the FIFA-recognised PFF and its rival group.

In October the same year, FIFA ExCo decided to give two years to FIFA-recognised PFF until September 2017 to revise the PFF Constitution and hold fresh elections. However, due to subsequent series of incidents, FIFA extended the PFF mandate to March 2020.