KARACHI: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has reaffirmed the global football body’s backing of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee when he met its chairman Humza Khan on the sidelines of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awards in Hong Kong on Monday.
A well-placed source confirmed to Dawn that Humza met the FIFA president for the first time since he was given the arduous task of leading the Normalisation Committee, whose main task is to resolve the crisis that has plagued Pakistan football for the last several years.
Infantino also posed for a picture with Humza and Normalisation Committee member retired Col. Mujahidullah Tareen following their short interaction in which he assured that FIFA would keep supporting the Normalisation Committee, which has to conduct club scrutiny before holding fresh elections of the PFF by June next year.
Since appointing the Normalisation Committee in September, FIFA has stood by its decision and reiterated its support for it despite vociferous protests by the backers of deposed PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat.
Hayat, who is an AFC vice-president, was also present at the awards that saw Qatar’s Akram Afif and Saki Kumagai of Japan named Asia’s male and female footballers of the year.
FIFA-AFC DELEGATION ARRIVES
Meanwhile, the joint FIFA-AFC delegation arrived in Lahore on Monday with its two-day trip aimed at resolving the funding issues to the PFF Normalisation Committee.
“The delegation was due to arrive on Monday,” a FIFA spokesperson confirmed to Dawn.
Both FIFA and the AFC had suspended funding to the PFF in January following an election of the country’s football governing body held on the orders of the Supreme Court, at the end of a nearly four-year long legal battle sparked by a controversial election held by Hayat in 2015.
FIFA, which doesn’t accept interference into the matters of its member associations, did not accept the Supreme Court-ordered election that saw Ashfaq Hussain Shah elected PFF president and at that time the Hayat-led group had returned an amount of US$530,000 of unused funding to FIFA and AFC following the suspension of funding.
Dawn has learnt, however, that the sticking point in the resumption of funding to the Normalisation Committee is that there is no record, or audit for that matter, of total amount of US$2,100,000 spent by Hayat’s body from March last year to January this year.
Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2019