FIFA suspends Pakistan Football Federation over ‘third-party interference’


ZURICH Oct 11 (TNS):  FIFA has decided to suspend the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) on account of undue third-party interference, the world football governing body announced on Wednesday.

The PFF’s membership has been suspended with immediate effect in accordance with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council. PFF offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator, which constitutes a violation of the PFF obligations to manage its affairs independently and without influence from any third parties in accordance with the FIFA Statutes, the governing body said.

The suspension will be lifted once the PFF offices and access to the PFF accounts are returned to the PFF.

Following its suspension, the PFF has lost all its membership rights as defined in Article 13 of the FIFA Statutes. The PFF representative and club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted, the media release stated.

The suspension also means that neither the PFF nor any of its members or officials can benefit from any development programmes, courses or training from FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Also in accordance with Article 16 Paragraph 3 of the FIFA Statutes, other member associations may not entertain sporting contact with the PFF during its suspension, FIFA added.

Earlier this year, FIFA had given a final ultimatum to authorities in Pakistan for handing over football affairs to elected-president-PFF Faisal Saleh Hayat or face suspension from membership.

A FIFA spokesman had said that the Members’ Association Committee had decided that “if the PFF offices and access to the PFF accounts weren’t returned to the PFF Ieadership – Ied by Mr Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat – by 31 JuIy it would recommend to the FIFA Council to suspend the PFF for contravening its obligations under articles 14 & 19 of the FIFA Statutes.”

Faisal Saleh Hayyat was re-elected as President of PFF for a third time in a controversial election in June 2015, but he was never allowed to resume charge and the matters were dragged in court, which FIFA terms as against its statues.

Elected president of PFF, Faisal Saleh Hayat, lamented over the suspension, calling it “bad news” for football in Pakistan.

“The suspension has put our footballers’ future in danger. This is bad news. Now our players won’t be able to play internationally and even our domestic football will suffer.. it will suffer badly,” he said.

Hayat said FIFA’s laws are very clear and they do not allow for any undue third-party interference.

“FIFA had sent Pakistan a very clear message. It [FIFA] had told us it would suspend us if the political interference did not end,” he said, adding that the governing body finally decided to impose the decision which it had warned of in 2015.

Hayat said he did everything in his power to resolve the situation but no one cooperated.

“I tried whatever I could. I approached [authorities], I even appealed to [former prime minister] Nawaz Sharif to take note of the interference, but despite all my efforts, the situation could not be resolved, unfortunately.”

“I now appeal to the Chief of Army Staff to help resolve this,” he said, noting that the Pakistan Army has been taking admirable steps to promote sports in the country and project a positive image of Pakistan abroad.

The PFF chief further said that the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy, which was expected to stop over in Pakistan on February 3 next year during its global tour, may not come here at all following the latest development.

“The trophy tour would have been a big boost to Pakistan’s image worldwide, but now even that tour is in danger,” he lamented.

Hayat reminded again that if the PFF is not given control, the suspension would continue.

“If we want to play football, we would have to follow FIFA’s laws. Otherwise, our football will suffer,” he said.