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FIFA acknowledges all not well in Pakistan as funding stopped

October 02, 2016

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Pakistan football players take part in a training session in Lahore. — AFP/FIle
Pakistan football players take part in a training session in Lahore. — AFP/FIle

KARACHI: For the first time since the FIFA executive committee gave the Faisal Saleh Hayat-led Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) two years to resolve matters in September last year, the world’s football governing body has indicated all is not well with its member association.

The PFF has been mired in crisis and controversy even since it split into two factions in the lead-up to its presidential elections in June last year before the Lahore High Court (LHC) appointed an administrator to run football affairs in the country.

And that has seen FIFA stop its funding to the PFF.

“Given the current situation, FIFA has been withholding development funding to PFF,” a FIFA spokesperson told Dawn on Friday.

The PFF turmoil began with a full-blown dispute over the controversial Punjab Football Association (PFA) elections last April and it saw the country’s football governing body divide into two groups with allegations swirling that Hayat had changed PFF statutes to suit him in the presidential vote.

With the two groups — one led by incumbent president Hayat and the other by contender and vice-president Zahir Ali Shah — heading into the polls, it saw LHC intervene and order a stay on the elections.

The Hayat group however went on to hold the elections and that has resulted in a drawn-out battle against the honourable court which appointed retired Justice Asad Munir as PFF Administrator till the issue is resolved and also asked him to hold fresh polls.

The FIFA executive committee then backed Hayat and gave him two years to amend the PFF statutes and conduct fresh elections.

“FIFA’s Member Association Committee in collaboration with FIFA Compliance monitors the situation,” the FIFA spokesperson added.

Well-placed sources had already confirmed that FIFA’s funding to the Hayat group had been stopped.

However, there have been disputed claims that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is still giving funds to the Hayat-led PFF.

With the national team having missed out on the SAFF Suzuki Cup late last year due to the PFF dispute, the Hayat group then decided against sending Pakistan to the AFC Solidarity Cup to be held in Malaysia in November citing lack of finances.

The AFC did not respond to a query by Dawn two weeks ago whether it had stopped its funding to the PFF and if it was not going to pay for the expenses of the participating teams in the AFC Solidarity Cup.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2016