KARACHI: FIFA’s member associations committee will decide whether the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) of Faisal Saleh Hayat gets a two-year extension to its mandate or not.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is pushing its weight behind a bid to get Hayat’s PFF two more years after it was awarded two years by the world’s football governing body to ratify its statutes and conduct fresh elections back in September 2015 following its controversial presidential polls earlier that year.

AFC’s executive committee met earlier this month and said it will request FIFA to extend the mandate of Hayat’s PFF till June 2019.

The move by the AFC comes despite football in the country coming to a standstill with the Lahore High Court (LHC) having appointed an administrator to run PFF affairs in wake of contentious presidential elections conducted by Hayat’s group after the country’s football governing body broke into two factions.

With FIFA and AFC not accepting the court-appointed administrator, Pakistan hasn’t participated in any international event for the last two years.

“The matter will be submitted for the review of FIFA Member Associations Committee,” a FIFA spokesperson told Dawn in a short statement on Friday.

The member associations committee has been “monitoring the situation” in Pakistan for the last two years and it also discussed Pakistan’s case before the Hayat faction was given its two-year term almost two years ago by FIFA’s executive committee.

Despite claims of the Hayat group that their elections had been upheld by FIFA, Dawn had reported then that it wasn’t the case.

A well-placed source inside FIFA had said that it was “pure speculation” and the associations committee “has not upheld anything”.

Another source confirmed that it was indeed pressure from the AFC which saw FIFA’s executive committee give the Hayat faction a two-year term.

The executive committee has since been replaced by the FIFA Council in the wake of a reform of the global body following a widening corruption scandal which has engulfed FIFA for the last several years.

FIFA did not respond to a query by Dawn asking if the recommendations by the member associations committee will be discussed by the FIFA Council for a final decision.

The FIFA Council next meets in October, a month after the two-year term of the Hayat faction expires.

The AFC did not respond to a request by Dawn asking for the rationale behind its decision to push for a two-year extension for the Hayat faction when a fresh election could help Pakistan emerge from its footballing crisis.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2017

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