FIFA mission meets Pakistan’s football officials

Updated May 29, 2019

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The mission met representatives from the Ashfaq Hussain Shah-led PFF. — Fifa/Fle
The mission met representatives from the Ashfaq Hussain Shah-led PFF. — Fifa/Fle

LAHORE: The joint FIFA-AFC fact-finding mission on Tuesday met with the football officials in the country before it presents its findings to the global and Asian football bodies on which officials should be leading the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).

The mission met representatives from the Ashfaq Hussain Shah-led PFF, the group recognised in the country as the legitimate one following an election held by the Supreme Court in December, and the group led by Faisal Saleh Hayat, who is recognised by FIFA as the PFF chief.

The mission, headed by FIFA’s member associations manager Luca Nicola, had meetings of two hours each with the two groups.

From the Hayat faction, secretary retired Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi, deputy secretary general Fahad Khan, finance director Nadia Naqvi and head of league and media Shahid Khokhar appeared before the mission.

No congress member from the Ashfaq-led PFF appeared before the mission following an emergency Congress held earlier in the day which took that stance after the mission had refused to meet vice-president Sardar Naveed Haider Khan after the Hayat faction claimed he was suspended.

Sardar Naveed was a former Hayat ally who deserted him after the country’s apex court announced fresh elections of the PFF following a three-year legal battle for control of the country’s football governing body.

Lawyers Taha Alizai and Chahudhry Zulfiqar met the mission on behalf of the Ashfaq-led PFF.

“Although both are lawyers, they both have direct links with football since Taha runs Karachi United FC and Zulfiqar was ex-president of the Lahore District Football Association,” Ashfaq told Dawn, defending the move of sending their legal representatives to meet the mission.

Ashfaq claimed that the mission had suggested fresh elections of the PFF under a normalisation committee set by FIFA and said his group was willing to take part in those polls.

The Hayat faction denied that the mission made any proposals for fresh elections, adding that FIFA’s member associations committee had already decided that polls couldn’t be held before March 2020.

The Hayat faction is due to meet the Hayat faction against on Wednesday when it will also meet officials of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).

There are reports that the POA would be part of the fresh elections but Ashfaq said they wouldn’t accept the POA’s role since it is leaning towards Hayat.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2019