Players and coaches are blowing up the rival group that took over the seat of the Pakistan Football Federation last month.
FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body, has suspended the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) due to third-party interference.
A group of football officials, led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah, elected president of the PFF in the 2018 elections sanctioned by the Supreme Court but not recognized by FIFA, took over the seat last month and took control of the FIFA-appointed PFF (NC) Standards Commission headed by Haroon Malik.
FIFA said its decision to suspend the PFF was prompted by the “hostile takeover” which was a serious violation of its statutes.
“FIFA issued a warning letter that if the illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters was not lifted and the FIFA recognized officers would not be allowed free access to the building to carry out their mandate , the matter would immediately be submitted to the Bureau of the Council for decision, ”FIFA said.
“As the situation remains unchanged, the Bureau of the Council has decided to suspend the PFF.”
FIFA said the latest suspension will only be lifted once it receives confirmation from CN that the PFF’s premises, accounts, administration and communication channels are once again under its full control.
“Following the suspension, the standards committee can confirm that FIFA will take further action against those involved in the hostile takeover,” the PFF’s CN said in a statement.
“It is very unfortunate that due to the actions of a few, the entire Pakistani football ecosystem – which includes players, officials and coaches – has suffered and precious time and resources, which could have been spent to the development of sport. in Pakistan, must be wasted. “
Pakistan was also suspended by FIFA for third-party interference in 2017.
“It is very unfortunate for Pakistan that FIFA has suspended PFF, and some people with special interests in PFF are responsible for it,” Malik, director of PFF NC, told Reuters news agency. “I promise that soon the PFF suspension will end.”
Hajra Khan, captain of the Pakistani women’s soccer team, said the incident was “embarrassing” and that she was “disheartened”.
“This is the second time FIFA has suspended Pakistan in the past five years,” Khan told Al Jazeera. “I feel discouraged. Football is the most watched sport in the world, but the way it is treated in Pakistan is grossly unfair.
“Our base is incredible, there is a huge pool of talent. But he still faces disruption. It is time for those in power to act to stop this political cycle. Our players just want to play football and represent Pakistan internationally. “
Waleed Javed, coach of the Highlanders women’s team, said the impact of the FIFA decision was “felt by everyone – the coaches, the referees and the players”.
“For many of us, this is our only source of income,” Javed told Al Jazeera.
“If this is interrupted, how are we going to put food on our table?” People will lose their jobs. Football is a way to support so many of us.
“The ban will affect young people in the developmental stage the most. This will deprive the next generation of playing internationally. The spirit of the players is remarkable but this chain of events saddened us all. Players were crying when news of the takeover broke.
Additional reporting by Hajira Maryam in Karachi, Pakistan