LAHORE, July 14: The former secretary of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Arshad Lodhi on Saturday came under sever criticism by Congress members who lashed out at the former official for getting a stay order against the PFF elections which were due on Saturday.

“The 16 members met the president of PFF Faisal Saleh Hayat in an informal meeting on Saturday to discuss the present state of affairs of the PFF. They were upset and astonished that the former secretary of PFF, being a signatory to the complete election schedule, stated before the Lahore High Court (LHC) that PFF never sent them the election schedule,” a PFF press release said.

“All the members supported and endorsed the decision of the PFF disciplinary committee for awarding punishment to Arshad, his cronies for flouting the PFF constitution, code of conduct and for trying to tarnish the PFF,” the press release said.

All 16 members of the Congress had reached Lahore to contest for elections. But on Friday, LHC issued a stay against PFF elections, forcing the PFF to postpone the elections and Congress meeting and converting it into an informal meeting.

PFF said 16 members representing Balochistan, Sindh, NWFP, Pakistan Football Referees Association and all eight affiliated departments were present for elections as per the schedule which was approved in the last general council meeting on March 3. Two members from NWFP were absent as they had proceeded on a foreign tour after informing the secretary of the PFF.

"Some of the members were of the opinion that people with such a negative approach should be banned for life,” PFF press release said.

The PFF has already slapped a 10-year ban on Arshad and on his two associates recently.

Meanwhile, PFF said that Faisal pledged to continue promoting youth football and women soccer and run the game on professional lines.

“We have achieved a lot in the last four years. It is remarkable that PFF is the only body affiliated with 46-member AFC to get three Goal Projects. The number of Goal Projects will be raised to four soon as we have been promised another project in Quetta. But there is still work needed to be done and it will be my endeavour to see that Pakistan is one day recognized as the best at least in Asia,” he told the Congress members.

Faisal had returned on Friday from Jakarta where he acted as a member AFC disciplinary committee at the 14th Asian Cup 2007.

Faisal informed the members that funds of the PFF stood at Rs 65 million as compared to Rs 25 million when he took over the charge in August 2003.

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