Pride and prejudice

December 22, 2019

The Normalisation Committee of the Pakistan Football Federation can succeed in its mission only if it remains neutral

A few days ago during an interview with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee’s (NC) chairman Humza Khan I was really surprised when he told me that they are yet to discuss and finalise a roadmap for club scrutiny which is the first step towards elections at district, provincial, and PFF levels.

I found Humza very proud but he does not have knowledge about football governance at the highest level and his decisions during the last three months may land him in deep trouble.

FIFA has given NC nine months to achieve the target of holding PFF elections. And the body language of NC shows that it will seek extension from FIFA as it has done nothing so far towards achieving its real goals. The NC members are enjoying substantial perks and privileges. FIFA senior official Alexandre Gros is very kind with NC and I don’t think he has noted what the committee has done so far.

The NC has obliged all those people so far who belonged to Ashfaq’s group. Humza’s appointment as NC chairman had been massively criticised by Faisal’s group because of his affiliation with Taha Ali Zai, owner of Karachi United. Humza remained skipper of KU for several years. Taha was legal counsel of Ashfaq’s group. It was expected from the very start that NC will not be able to keep neutrality.

Humza does not know how dangerous and lengthy the club scrutiny could be. The path seems to be full of thorns and anything may happen when the committee goes for this most difficult task.

Humza believes that electoral process could be completed within three months but I don’t think so.

During a long interaction with a couple of reporters, including me, at Karachi’s Marriot Hotel, Alexandre Gros had said that he hoped NC would maintain neutrality. So far NC has taken services of those coaches for international events who were against Faisal group. And according to sources, NC has also taken services of those people for its secretariat who were part of Ashfaq group. The vacancies were filled without advertising the posts.

There are so many highly qualified coaches who remained neutral and silent during the conflict between two factions and those were the easiest choices for selection for Pakistan under-19 team and Pakistan team for South Asian Games in which unfortunately the nation did not feature in football as its entry was not confirmed by the organisers.

It really shocked me when I knew about what happened with the PFF former Director Technical and the only Pro License coach of the country at the PFF headquarters on December 5, 2019.

I don’t think FIFA has given a mandate to the NC to work like National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Its task is to hold elections and run day-to-day affairs of Pakistan football.

If the same coach faced any issue in future NC will be responsible. Coaches and players are assets and should be protected. No NC member knows football as well as that pro-license coach who also remained part of panel of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Coach Education and the continental body recently appreciated his services through a letter, a copy of which has also been received by me.

NC has flopped in handling national teams as far as selection of coaches, holding camps and its role in paving way for ensuring Pakistan’s entry in the South Asian Games are concerned. I will advise NC not to waste time and go for holding elections as soon as possible so that an elected PFF could take over and start reviving football.

The PFF is a national asset and is not the property of any one. NC must know that PFF is not its property. It will be accountable for every penny it spends. It should hold all its meetings at the PFF headquarters instead of holding them at expensive hotels.

NC also should immediately dispose of the contract issue of the Brazilian coach Jose Nogueira. Any further delay may cost the PFF heavily. Jose has not received salary from July 2019 as per my knowledge. He takes 8,000 US dollars and when his contract is dissolved by the PFF the latter will have to pay him two months extra salary.

I also advise Gros to help improve the performance of NC so that it could go towards PFF elections.

Pakistan's football cannot bear any further delay. The elections should be held as soon as possible. Pakistan has suffered a lot for the last five years due to conflict between two factions.

Pakistan direly needs to complete its club-licensing issue as without that no club of the country would be eligible to feature in the AFC club competitions.

Whenever I call any member of the NC I find them at home. NC is enjoying all kinds of privileges and should work seriously towards achieving its goals set for it by FIFA.

Pride and prejudice: What's keeping the Pakistan Football Federation from achieving its real goals?