KARACHI: Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari has expressed his dissatisfaction over the performance of the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee, stating that the government will appeal to FIFA to change the Haroon Malik-led body.

Haroon came under intense criticism by lawmakers during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee in Islamabad on Wednesday with Mazari accusing the PFF NC chief of backtracking on his promises to hold the elections of the country’s crisis-riddled football governing body.

“He has been delaying the process,” Mazari told Dawn after the meeting. “Three times in the past, they’ve made commitments to hold elections sooner yet there has been no headway.”

The PFF NC on Monday announced that the club scrutiny — the first step towards holding of elections — will begin in six districts from May 27 and Haroon told the standing committee that the elections process would be completed by June next year.

“The NC has been given a mandate by FIFA to conduct elections as well as run day-to-day affairs but it has done nothing on the first part despite having vowed to hold elections within eight months of the suspension on Pakistan by FIFA being lifted,” added Mazari.

“We are not interfering in the process but we will be drafting and sending the NC’s performance report to FIFA. We feel that the current members are only interested in receiving their heavy salaries and we want the NC to be changed.”

The NC was installed by FIFA in September 2019 with its current iteration being appointed in January 2021 following the resignation of previous chairman Humza Khan. Four months into their tenure Haroon’s NC was thrown out of office with FIFA suspending Pakistan for a 15-month period that ended in June last year.

Announcing the start of the club scrutiny process, Haroon had said that the NC had faced several challenges since it was appointed. Mazari, however, is having none of it. “They made promises to us, given a timeline but yet again, they have not lived up to it,” he said.

Following the hearing, PFF NC member Shahid Khokhar said that “there was a strong will to hold the elections” but lamented that there were “misunderstandings between the NC and the government”.

“We need to reduce the communication gap between the NC and the ministry,” he told Dawn. “But we are hopeful that once the club scrutiny process begins, things will fall into place.”

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2023

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