LAHORE, Sept 24: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has submitted a review petition before the Supreme Court against its decision in the National Sports Policy 2005 implementation case and both the main houses of the federation, Congress and Executive, have been informed about it in their recent meetings held here last Saturday.

“Our constitution is approved by FIFA and not by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and it also does not contain any restriction regarding the two-term tenure. Therefore, both the PFF houses — Congress and Executive — have been taken into confidence in the last meetings about moving the apex court,” PFF secretary Ahmed Yar Lodhi told Dawn here on Monday.

Lodhi disclosed that the PFF had been receiving huge cooperation from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), stressing without their help football could not be developed in Pakistan.

“FIFA has been giving us a huge annual grant of $250,000 for the last ten years, and now the AFC has also started a similar amount of grant from this year.

“Moreover, FIFA has allocated the PFF as many as eight Goal Projects, each worth $500,000,” he stated.

“The Goal Projects in Lahore and Peshawar have been completed while in Karachi it is nearing completion. Similarly, Goal Projects for Abbottabad, Jacobabad, Sukkur, Quetta and another one for Punjab have been approved. And accordingly, another huge investment of $2.5 million for these five projects is in the pipeline,” he added.

Lodhi said the government of Pakistan still recognised the PFF and it had released the annual grant of Rs1.7 million for the current year. The PFF, he added, requires the cooperation from FIFA/AFC as well as that from the government, and for that purpose it moved the review petition.

It may be mentioned that the National Sports Policy 2005 has become a bone of contention between the PSB and the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and national sports federations. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected one of the clauses of the Policy under which the president, secretary and treasurer of a national sport federation cannot hold their offices for more than two tenures. Instead, the IOC empowers general council of each federation to decide the tenure of their high officials.

The IOC has also rejected some of the clauses of the PSB rules under which it gets overwhelming authority to control the federations. But the Supreme Court, in a review petition, has decided that if the sports federations want to remain affiliated with the PSB they must follow its rules and regulations. But the federations are between the devil and the deep blue sea. In case of falling on the side of the government, the federations may be suspended by the IOC through their respective international sports federations and on making the reverse move the federations may face suspension by the government.

“All members of the Congress and Executive have been cleared by the PFF president Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat that we all are bound to take the decision in the best interest of football, because we all are its product, and both the houses also decided that first of all the PFF should fight for its right at all the appropriate forums. And if it fails to convince the government about its stance regarding the two-term tenure restriction, it will choose the way better suited to the game and not to any individual,” he said.

It is pertinent to note that FIFA had already sent a letter to the PFF warning it of suspension in case of following the above-mentioned rules of the government.

Meanwhile, the PFF secretary said the Congress and Executive had passed the annual budget amounting to Rs60.68 million for the calendar of activities and Rs8 million for the administration of the federation.

Regarding the decline of Pakistan in world ranking, which is now 177th, the secretary claimed the PFF was going well to achieve the target set under Vision-2022.

“We have been working well on our under-16 players started some three years ago and the Vision 2022 programme and now almost all the boys are playing in the under-19 and progressing well. Hopefully, they will earn better results in the next three years,” he said.

He said Pakistan coach Zavisa Milosavljevic had also recommended the induction of some promising Pakistani footballers who were settled in European and other countries and playing well there.

Meanwhile, the PFF has inducted some new programmes in its calendar including Under-13 Youth Cup, ongoing 2nd HBL Inter-school championship, Under-16 Youth Cup, Grassroots Football Day, Under-19 Youth Cup, Departmental National Under-18 Football Youth Cup.

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