KARACHI: The FIFA ban on Pakistan was ratified on Friday. What happens next remains to be seen.
The ratification of the suspension placed on Pakistan on April 7, following the takeover of the Pakistan Football Federation by a group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah from the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, was on the agenda of the FIFA Congress which met virtually on Friday.
The vote for the ratification of the ban on Pakistan was put up in which 203 out of 209 FIFA member associations voted in favour, with one association voting against.
“Obviously, soon we hope we can lift the suspensions on the football associations,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino, also referring to Chad whose ban was also ratified at the Congress.
On Wednesday the Ashfaq group, which came to power through an election held by the Supreme Court that wasn’t recognised by FIFA, held a news conference in which they gave detailed evidence of the flawed working of the Normalisation Committee since it was put in place in September 2019.
The PFF NC chairman Haroon Malik, who was appointed in January following the resignation of his predecessor Humza Khan in December last year, praised the Normalisation Committee for ensuring there were no further sanctions.
“Today at FIFA Congress Pakistan suspension was ratified, and due to the positive steps taken by the Normalisation Committee, any further sanctions were avoided,” Haroon wrote on Twitter. “The suspension can be lifted once Normalisation Committee chairman requests FIFA. This is the most positive outcome that was possible given the ongoing occupation by Ashfaq Shah group.”
Harron was asked to specify what further sanctions Pakistan was facing but did not respond.
The PFF NC has for long been claiming that Pakistan will be handed a long ban but when FIFA was handing out the ban, it clearly stated that the lifting of the ban rested upon the PFF headquarters being vacated by the Ashfaq group.
Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2021