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FIFA Suspends Pakistan Football Federation

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo. Fabrice Coffrini—AFP

In statement, global football body says suspension a result of ‘third-party interference’ in violation of FIFA statutes

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) on Wednesday suspended the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) “with immediate effect” due to third-party interference in violation of its statutes.

“This situation was prompted by the recent hostile takeover of the PFF headquarters in Lahore by a group of protesters and an alleged decision by certain individuals to remove the FIFA-appointed normalization committee of the PFF led by Haroon Malik and to hand over the leadership of the PFF to Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah,” read the statement.

It noted that FIFA had issued a letter warning that if the “illegitimate” occupation was not lifted and the office-bearers recognized by FIFA not allow unhindered access to the building to perform their duties, the matter would be referred to the Bureau of the Council for a final ruling. “As the situation remains unchanged, the Bureau of the Council has decided to suspend the PFF,” it added.

FIFA said that the suspension would only be lifted once confirmation had been received from the normalization committee of the PFF that its “premises, accounts, administration and communication channels” were under its full control and it could conduct its activities without hindrance.

In addition to Pakistan, FIFA also suspended the Chadian Football Association “due to government interference.” It said the decision was motivated by the Chadian government’s decision to permanently withdraw the powers delegated to its football association, establish a national committee for the temporary management of football and seize control of its premises.

This marks the second time in four years that the Pakistan Football Federation has been suspended by FIFA. Pakistan was banned from October 2017 to March 2018 after a court-appointed administered assumed control of PFF headquarters from then-present Faisal Saleh Hayat. The normalization committee appointed by FIFA to oversee matters had been appointed in September 2019.

Last week, Inter-provincial Coordination Minister Fehmida Mirza had told a press conference that the government did not endorse the PFF takeover in Lahore. She had urged the global body to open fresh dialogue with football officials in Pakistan, claiming that a suspension wasn’t a way forward.

“We do not want the game of football to be ruined in Pakistan. We’ve told FIFA that we want to resolve the issues of Pakistan Football Federation. The immediate ban [on Pakistan] is not a solution to the problem,” she had added.

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