KARACHI: Almost a month after FIFA announced that it will appoint a Normalisation Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), the global football body has said that it will be sending a delegation along with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to Pakistan in mid-August to work towards that.
In a landmark decision at the end of June, FIFA declared it was establishing a Normalisation Committee for the PFF to hold fresh elections of the country’s football governing body, ultimately bringing to an end a four-year-long crisis that saw the game come to a standstill in the country.
The committee will also be responsible for running the PFF affairs in the meantime and will face a race against time in a ninth-month mandate to first conduct club scrutiny and then hold elections from the districts all the way up to the PFF presidential polls.
“FIFA and the AFC are working on the establishment of the Normalisation Committee for the PFF,” a FIFA spokesperson told Dawn on Tuesday. “A FIFA/AFC delegation is scheduled to visit Pakistan in mid-August to proceed with further steps in this process. Additional details will be communicated in due time.”
FIFA and the AFC had also sent a delegation to the country at the end of May, which after meeting football’s stakeholders in Pakistan, decided that the Normalisation Committee was the only solution to resolving the crisis in the game.
The decision of that fact-finding mission also meant FIFA backtracked on an earlier mandate it had given to the Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF until March 2020 to ratify the PFF statutes and hold fresh elections.
Hayat, however, isn’t recognised domestically as Pakistan’s football chief. That title belongs to Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah who was elected as PFF president in an election held on the orders of the Supreme Court in December last year. That election came at the culmination of a nearly four-year legal battle over the control of Pakistan’s football but wasn’t accepted by FIFA, which in turn sent the earlier fact-finding mission.
The visit of the upcoming delegation is expected to see the FIFA and AFC officials meet with the potential candidates for the Normalisation Committee that have been put forward by the Hayat and Shah groups. The members of the committee will also be subject to eligibility checks.
Well-placed sources have told Dawn that as many as 10 names, some of them incumbent football officials, have been put forward as the members of the committee with four slots available. The chairman of the committee will be appointed by FIFA.
Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2019