By our correspondent
LAHORE: As was expected FIFA on Tuesday warned Pakistan of a suspension if the PFF secretariat in Lahore was not handed over back to the FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee by 8pm on Wednesday (today).
The warning came through the FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, who wrote a letter to Haroon Malik, the NC chairman on Tuesday.
“Should the illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters not be lifted and the office bearers recognised by FIFA not be permitted free access to the building by Wednesday 31 March 2021 at 20:00 (Lahore time), at the latest, in order for them to carry out their mandate as instructed by FIFA, the matter shall be immediately submitted to the Bureau of the Council for decision, which might include the suspension of PFF on the basis of art. 16 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes,” the letter said. “Finally, we would like to recall that a suspension would mean that PFF loses all of its membership rights, as defined in art. 13 of the FIFA Statutes, with immediate effect and until further notice, including, but not limited to, the right of PFF’s national teams or any of its clubs to participate in any international competitions, as well as the right of PFF and its Members to benefit from FIFA’s financial/development programmes,” it added.
On Saturday Ashfaq Group had occupied back the PFF headquarters after their congress showed dissatisfaction over the so far performance of the Normalisation Committee. It was the same group, elected in the December 2018 elections held under the orders of the Supreme Court, which had given charge of the headquarters and accounts to the NC in September 2019 with the hope that it would hold fair and transparent elections.
Earlier in the letter Samoura said: “It is with great concern that FIFA has learned of the unfortunate incidents that took place at the headquarters of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in Lahore, and during which PFF officials and employees had to be evacuated after the offices had been invaded by a group of protestors, who support Mr Syed Ashfaq Hussain.” “While FIFA strongly condemns the incidents and considers such actions to be totally unacceptable, we would like to remind all relevant parties, in particular the individuals who invaded the PFF premises, that the normalisation committee of PFF, established by a decision of the Bureau of the Council and later ratified by the FIFA Council, and which is currently led by your person, is the sole executive body of PFF recognised by FIFA,” the letter said.
“Furthermore, we would like to inform you about a correspondence dated 28 March 2021 that FIFA received today in which it is alleged that an extraordinary Congress was held on 26 March 2021 by certain Members of the PFF, and during which a decision was apparently taken to hand over the leadership of the PFF to Mr Syed Ashfaq Hussain,” it said.
“In view of the above, FIFA further considers that the illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters as well as any decision to take over the leadership of the PFF from the normalisation committee appointed by FIFA, constitutes an undue interference in the affairs of the Federation, therefore violating the obligations imposed on PFF by art. 14 par. 1 let. i) and art. 19 of the FIFA Statutes,” the letter added. If Pakistan face suspension then this will be the second time in three years. Earlier in 2017 Pakistan faced suspension which was lifted in early 2018.