ISLAMABAD: The sorry state of football in the country echoed in the Upper House of the Parliament on Friday, where the government realised that the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) had taken no steps to promote the game at grassroots level.

In response to a question raised by Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh, the Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada said in his written reply: “The PFF has not taken any initiative/steps for development of football under the said programme.”

The minister, however, said that national level activities are being conducted by the departments affiliated with PFF at their own.

“Reportedly, the associations are doing their job at grassroot levels. The PFF has not devised a mechanism regarding talent hunt programme for the enrollment of the children,” the minister said.

To this, Mian Ateeq said it was regrettable that government is itself admitting that no step was taken for the promotion of football.

The federal minister for parliamentary affairs Aftab Sheikh, speaking on the behalf of the IPC minister, said there were several issues at PFF.

“There are dispute among the members of the PFF,” he said, adding that the federation is not working. “An inquiry is being conducted headed by Justice Asad Munir,” the minister said.

Senator Usman Kakar said it is a highly serious issue and the matter of PFF should be referred to a parliamentary committee.

However the minister, opposing the demand of referring the matter to parliamentary committee, said: “We should wait for the Asad Munir inquiry report,” he said.

Asad Munir was appointed as administrator of the country’s football governing body by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2015 after a bitter dispute saw the PFF split into two factions in the lead-up to its presidential elections.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2017

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