KARACHI: The protests and the letters didn’t count for much in the end.
Faisal Saleh Hayat and his supporters have been vehemently protesting the appointment of the Normalisation Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) since its officials were named by global football body FIFA last month.
But the decision to appoint the Normalisation Committee due to the crisis in the PFF, which was taken by the all-powerful, seven-member Bureau of the FIFA Council, has now been ratified by the FIFA Council — the decision-making arm of the game’s governing body.
The FIFA Council met on Shanghai on Thursday and one of the items on its agenda was the ‘Ratification of the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council in 27 June 2019 regarding the situation of the Pakistan Football Federation’.
“The decision of the Bureau of the Council was ratified by the FIFA Council during its meeting in Shanghai,” a FIFA spokesperson told Dawn on Thursday.
Earlier this month, FIFA stated that it “fully supported” the Normalisation Committee and the officials who had been appointed. The supporters of Hayat, the recently-deposed PFF chief, have been protesting against committee chairman Humza Khan and one of its members, retired Col. Mujahidullah Tareen.
Shameful scenes were witnessed at the protests with effigies burnt and Alexandre Gros, the FIFA official who oversaw the appointment of the Normalisation Committee, was also targeted.
Furthermore, two members of the Normalisation Committee who were nominated by Hayat — Munir Ahmed Khan Sadhana and Syed Hasan Najib Shah wrote letters to both the presidents and general secretaries of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
In those letters, seen by Dawn, they called the Normalisation Committee a “non-starter right from the beginning” with the appointments of Humza and Mujahid, who they termed “highly controversial persons”, accusing them of supporting Hayat’s rival faction led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah.
Ashfaq nominated Mujahid and the fourth and final member of the Normalisation Committee, Sikander Khattak.
Dawn has seen that the letters by Munir and Najib were also sent to members of the FIFA Council as well as officials of FIFA’s member associations across the world in what seems to be a last-ditch effort from the Hayat group to change the formation of the Normalisation Committee.
Dawn has also seen emails sent out by Asghar Khan Anjum, the Pakistan football team’s manager during Hayat’s tenure, in which he has sent photographs and videos of the protests against the Normalisation Committee to the FIFA president and the members of its council.
“Concerning the letters: FIFA has no comment,” the FIFA spokesperson said.
Hayat, who became PFF chief in 2003, has clung onto power thanks to unflinching support over the years from both FIFA and the AFC, of which he is a vice-president. However, his protests against FIFA’s decision to appoint a Normalisation Committee, which he called “controversial, biased, and agenda-driven” show that he’s losing that support.
FIFA has said previously that it had “full trust in the process and work developed since the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council to establish a Normalisation Committee for the PFF and will continue to work together with AFC [Asian Football Confederation] towards bringing Pakistani football back on track and see it thriving in the country.”
Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2019