July 1 – Two months after sending a fact-finding mission to Pakistan to assess the administrative crisis in the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), FIFA has decided to appoint a normalisation committee to run the federation’s day-to-day affairs and hold elections within nine months.
The move is designed to resolve the long-standing dispute between the two factions of the PFF and could potentially end the rule of controversial PFF president Faisal Saleh Hyatt, an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee member who last January was removed by order of the country’s Supreme Court and replaced by Ashiq Hussain Shah after Pakistan’s supreme court stepped into the constitutional crisis and ordered elections.
Reports from Pakistan say it is not yet known whether Faisal will now contest the next elections under the normalisation committee. Although FIFA recognises Hayat and general secretary retired Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi as the legitimate leadership of the federation, they are not recognised in Pakistan. But that is deemed third party interference by FIFA.
Recently Hayat has withdrawn several national teams from competition. In fact since 2015, Pakistan hasn’t played a single competitive game because of the ongoing power struggle.
In a statement FIFA said the decision to set up a normalisation committee “follows the recent FIFA/AFC fact-finding mission’s visit to Pakistan, which concluded that only free, fair and transparent elections of the PFF executive committee would reunite the football stakeholders in Pakistan and set the basis for the development of football which has been at a standstill since 2015.”
“The normalisation committee will be composed of an adequate number of members to be identified by the FIFA administration, in consultation with AFC and relevant local stakeholders. In line with the FIFA Governance Regulations, all members of the normalisation committee will be subject to an eligibility check,” FIFA said.
“The normalisation committee would act as an electoral committee whose decisions are final and binding, and the specified period of time during which it will perform its functions will expire as soon as it has fulfilled all of its tasks but no later than nine months after its members have been officially appointed by FIFA,” it added.
“FIFA and AFC will begin the task of identifying, interviewing and selecting the members of the normalisation committee – an update will be provided on that matter in due course,” FIFA said.
Hayat welcomed the decision, telling a Pakistani publication, The News: “It’s a positive decision for the future of the game in Pakistan.”
“I have said repeatedly that without FIFA and AFC Pakistan football cannot grow and prosper. It is vital to follow and fully adopt their statutes and directives.”
“I have always contributed in a positive and selfless manner towards the growth of football in Pakistan which was nowhere when I took over and established a strong infrastructure and foundation in the then non-existent system,” claimed Faisal.
“My international contacts have always been employed to develop Pakistan. Because of the obstinacy, self-seeking and corrupt mindsets of these destroyers of Pakistan football today we find ourselves at rock bottom of international standings and in comparison look at our achievements in 2014 and early 2015 when we beat teams much higher in rankings than us.”
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