LAHORE: Former Punjab Football Association president Sardar Naveed Haider Khan on Wednesday slammed the Pakis­tan Football Federation Normali­sa­tion Committee for not following its main mandate of holding fresh elections of the country’s football governing body.

Sardar Naveed called upon global football body FIFA to take action since its appointed PFF NC was not working on the election front but was instead busy in organising the National Women’s Football Championship, which he claimed was being held without Covid-19 protocols being followed.

“We have written many times to FIFA, conveying our reservations over the ill-planning of the PFF NC towards holding the elections,” Sardar Neveed told a news conference here at the SJAL office, also alleging that the interim body had been misusing funds given to it by FIFA since its appointment in September 2019.

“FIFA should take stern action against the PFF NC for not focusing on its task to hold the elections,” he added. “The PFF NC has received thousands of dollars since it was appointed but there has been nothing done regarding the elections. We handed over the charge of the PFF to the FIFA-appointed NC headed but we’ve seen nothing of note since then.”

FIFA appointed the NC to end years of crisis and controversy in the PFF. It has a mandate till June 30 to hold elections of the PFF and it looks unlikely it will be able to meet the deadline with the PFF elections being a long and tedious process with polls first to be held at district and provincial levels before the presidential election.

Humza Khan was initially appointed the chairman of the PFF NC before he tendered his resignation at the end of last year and Haroon Malik was named to replace him. Sardar Naveed claimed Haroon couldn’t hold the post of chairman.

“Haroon is a Canadian national and the law of the land does not permit a dual national to head any office,” he said. “Moreover, FIFA’s own constitution states that the chairman of a Normalisation Committee will be from the respective country where the dispute exists.”

He added that although FIFA does not like to involve third parties to resolve a dispute in any country, there were some examples when it sat with some governments.

“FIFA should also initiate talks with the Pakistan government,” he said, although he didn’t specify how that would work out with federal minister Amir Dogar being part of one of the groups vying for control of the PFF.

Sardar Naveed also questio­ned the holding of the Women’s Championship in Karachi.

“Organising a tournament at a time when Covid-19 cases are rising in the country isn’t a good move,” he said. “With a positive case turning up [on Monday], they will now be spending Rs3.5 million to test all the participants.”

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2021

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