AIPS / PESHAWAR:  FIFA has suspended the Pakistan Football Federation because of third-party interference in breach of the world football federation’s statutes.

A statement explained: “This situation was prompted by the recent hostile takeover of the PFF headquarters in Lahore by a group of protestors 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.”

The suspension can be lifted only after FIFA learns that from the normalization committee stating that its premises, accounts, administration and communication channels are again under its full control and it can continue to carry out its mandate without further hindrance.

Earlier, FIFA had issued a warning to the federation over the “illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters as well as the decision to take over the leadership from the normalization committe.e.”

It stated: “FIFA issued a letter warning that, should the illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters not be lifted and the office bearers recognised by the global body not be permitted free access to the building to carry out their mandate, the matter would be immediately submitted to the Bureau of the Council for decision.”

Election row

FIFA appointed the PFF normalisation committee in September 2019, almost four years after a controversial election of the PFF had thrown Pakistan football into turmoil.

During that time, Pakistan was also suspended for a six-month period from October 2017 to March 2018 for a court-appointed administrator taking over the PFF headquarters from then president Faisal Saleh Hayat.

Upon its appointment, the PFF normalisation committee was chaired by Humza Khan who resigned in December last year with Munir Sadhana being appointed acting chairman. Haroon Malik was named as the chairman in January this year as FIFA changed all members of the committee it initially appointed.

During his time in charge, Sadhana reversed all the decisions taken by Humza, meaning Haroon and his committee had to start from scratch. Haroon announced earlier this month that he will publish an election roadmap this month.

This prompted the Ashfaq group — a group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah — to reclaim PFF headquarters.

On March 27, Shah, who became president in a Supreme Court decision in defiance of FIFA, had led a delegation of officials to the PFF headquarters demanding that the PFF normalisation committee hand back control of the headquarters.

Haroon had said he felt so threatened and intimidated he had to break through a glass panel to escape the PFF headquarters.

Chad suspended, too

The football federation of Chad has also been suspended by FIFA over government interference.

The ban was prompted by the recent decisions of Chadian government authorities to permanently withdraw the powers delegated to the FTFA, establish a national committee for the temporary management of football and seize control of the FTFA’s premises.

The suspension will be lifted once the relevant government decisions have been repealed and the FTFA and its management, led by president Moctar Mahamoud Hamid, have confirmed to FIFA that the FTFA premises are again under its control.