LAHORE: The Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination and the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee have agreed in principle upon the roadmap presented by the latter to complete the election process of the country’s football governing body in eight months’ time after it is handed over the PFF headquarters, sources privy to the talks told Dawn on Monday.

A formal announcement in that regard will be announced soon, once IPC minister Dr Fehmida Mirza returns from her leave. Sources said that Dr Mirza is currently on leave till Jan 7 due to her brother’s illness but could resume office as soon as her brother’s health improves.

The roadmap was a major demand from the IPC ministry as it looks to speed up the resolution of the long-running dispute in the PFF, which was further exacerbated when the country suspended by global football body FIFA in April after the PFF headquarters were taken over from the NC by the court-elected PFF of Ashfaq Hussain Shah.

Ashfaq, who became PFF president in elections held by the Supreme Court in December 2018 — which were not recognised by FIFA, had said upon the takeover that his group of officials had lost faith in the NC, which had been appointed by FIFA in September 2019 but was not close to holding the elections.

Ashfaq’s PFF was forced to vacate the PFF headquarters last month after what initially emerged as a dispute over non-payment of its three year lease to the Punjab government. Developments since have pointed towards a cancellation of the lease after the previous PFF had entered into a subletting agreement with another company.

But with the federal government eager to get the FIFA suspension lifted, things are expected to be sorted out especially with the election roadmap having been agreed upon.

According to sources, the NC has asked two months to conduct club scrutiny via the FIFA Connect programme.

After 15 days, the district elections would be held with another one and half months required to complete the elections at provincial level.

There will be another two months before the presidential election is held.

“Constitutionally, the election process is four and half months,” said the source, adding that the PFF NC had sought a further month to hand over charge to the elected body while there is a 15-day cushion period.

The source added that appeals and disciplinary committees will be formed to ensure that the election process is not subject to litigation, which has been a common feature in elections in the past.

Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2021

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