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February 14, 2021

The new FIFA Normalisation Committee should concentrate on holding club scrutiny and then elections


The newly-appointed chairman of FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Haroon Malik a few days ago could not say with certainty that he would meet the June 30 mandate for holding the PFF elections. He knows the complications which can impede the electoral process. He is seen more interested in handling day-to-day affairs of football. He is also keen to see Pakistan, under his tenure as chairman, winning the SAFF Cup slated to be held in Dhaka in September. He also showed his desire to give Pakistan a solid football governance, HR and administrative structure.

The Canada-based Malik is a gentleman. He listens to everyone quite patiently. And I hope he may do his job of holding the PFF elections within the stipulated time-frame. I want to attract his attention towards some important things. Malik should note that FIFA has appointed him as NC chairman for holding PFF elections. Yes he has the authority to also handle day-to-day affairs of Pakistan’s football during his stay as chairman. But he should work hard on a single point agenda and that is to conduct fair and transparent club scrutiny, hold elections at the district, provincial and PFF levels.

It is not his duty to make Pakistan SAFF Cup winners. Malik should note that for the last six years Pakistan’s football has been almost inactive. Pakistan has never won the SAFF Cup and it is quite unrealistic if he feels that we will be able to win SAFF Cup when we have not played football regularly for the last six years. It needs a lot of effort and resources to make Pakistan able to win the region’s major crown. There is no need at this stage to hire any foreign coach. He should leave these things to the new elected body.

Football governance, HR, administrative set-up and a proper roadmap for putting football on the right track are also not his job. If he even sets a precedent of smart administration and governance, the newly-elected body will not follow that. So Malik must solely focus on elections. The other things should be kept in the supplementary list.

The NC cannot make any alterations in the constitution of PFF. FIFA has clearly directed that the elected body will revise the PFF statutes. So go simple and conduct the PFF elections and leave it to the elected body to address the remaining issues.

Malik knows that club scrutiny is a big task but it is not that complicated if you go according to the rules. Any deviation may put the NC in a deep quagmire and legal issues may emerge.

I have come to know that a few meetings of the NC have so far been held. The NC also plans to hold a debate on club scrutiny and I am optimistic that a proper roadmap will be finalised soon. Malik has also been meeting with various stakeholders for the last few days.

He must have got a clear idea how he should go forward. I believe he knows things up to a certain extent. But he will have to be very careful and go by the book if he wants to hold the elections within the stipulated period. Just four and a half months are left.

He will really do a great job if he is able to conduct the PFF elections and ensure smooth transfer of power to the new elected body within the timeframe.

FIFA extended the NC mandate twice when Humza Khan was its chairman. A third extension will not be appropriate. He should dispose of the issue as soon as possible. His team also has some members with deep football knowledge and I am confident they will not let Malik deviate from rules and regulations while conducting elections.

It was quite a bit premature to hold the news conference in Lahore on February 2 because Malik should have taken some more time and then put before the media his roadmap.

Malik knows football well. He knows that it is not easy to conduct the PFF elections. It will need strong nerves and commitment to ensure fair and transparent club scrutiny and elections at various levels.

The most vital thing is district elections for which fair club scrutiny will be required. Once these are held fairly, a fair PFF will be formed. If the merit is ignored then a bad PFF will come into existence.

Hope Malik picks my point.

Malik should also release details of how much work the previous NC did towards PFF elections so that people could know the reality of their performance in 15 months.

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