LAHORE, June 2: Lashing out at former Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) secretary Arshad Lodhi, another ex-secretary PFF Hafiz Salman Butt has said ‘re-election’ of Faisal Saleh Hayat as president was neither illegal nor unconstitutional without the elections in Punjab.
Salman said if elections in Punjab could be held without polls in the cities of Faisalabad, Jhang, and Lahore then PFF elections could also be held without a province.
Though the PFF had set July 14 as date for the next elections, Faisal has been declared PFF president late last month since no nomination against him was received before May 12 deadline. The PFF elections are scheduled on July 14.
In April, the Punjab Football Association (PFA) held its elections which saw Arshad Lodhi being re-elected as chairman. But a group headed by Tariq Cheema moved the Lahore High Court and was granted a stay order against the elections. The LHC advised the PFF not to announce the results of elections till the final decision of the court. The case is pending with the court.
Arshad had criticised Faisal for declaring himself president without waiting for the court's decision, alleging it was illegal and unconstitutional.
Salman, however, took a swipe at Arshad, asking him “to show patience”, saying during his 30 years association with Punjab football affairs he failed to deliver.
"The standard of soccer in Punjab was always on decline during Arshad’s tenure as the PFA chairman. Arshad did nothing to promote the game," Salman said.
Salman did not agree when asked Arshad had claimed that it was him who convinced Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi to allot 11-kanal land for FIFA House.
He said had Arshad been sincere and could have acquired the plot, FIFA House would have been built during Mian Azhar's tenure as president and added Faisal served the PFF well but the PFF secretariat ruined his efforts.
Surprisingly, Salman said the current officials at the PFF secretariat were capable to run the affairs according to Faisal's wishes.
He was, however tight-lipped when pointed out that although Faisal, being a federal minister, could have arranged visas of participating teams of the AFC President Cup, the event had to be postponed because three
Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Bhutan could not get visas on time.“The event has been re-allotted to the PFF and now it will be held in September,” was all Salman could say in PFF’s defence.
He admitted Pakistan had slumped from 157 to 182 in the world ranking within a year, but added the next four years could see the team moving up to 148 place in the world.
He admitted it was due to PFF’s mistake of ignoring national team and preferring under-21 outfit that Pakistan was facing decline in ranking.