Wednesday Mar 31, 2021
KARACHI: Pakistan is facing a possible isolation from international football after Syed Ashfaq Hussain- led group refused to handover the PFF headquarters to the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee despite a suspension warning.
Hussain Shah took over the PFF affairs on Saturday after he, along with his supporters, stormed into the PFF headquarters, forcing Haroon Malik — the chairman of the Normalisation Committee — to exit the premises.
FIFA had condemned the incident terming Ashfaq Hussain’s occupation of PFF headquarters as "illegitimate" and demanded that control be handed over to the normalisation committee which FIFA considers as “sole executive body of PFF recognised by FIFA.”
They had set a deadline of 2000hrs PKT on 31st March for the occupying group to vacate the PFF offices.
Shah, in a video statement, explicitly refused to relinquish the control, saying "we have the mandate and are the legal stakeholders."
He said that the NC was given control of the PFF 18 months ago so it could hold elections but "not a single step towards elections has been taken yet."
Shah accused the NC of delaying elections, saying multiple NCs, one after another, were formed but each undid the work of the other.
He said that he tried to reach FIFA but his mandate was never accepted by the governing body.
Shah offered to return to negotiation table with FIFA and the government, saying that "we don't have any bad intentions" but any talks should be on "the basis of equality".
As a result of Shah and company's refusal to vacate the PFF offices, Pakistan could now head towards a suspension from FIFA.
“Should the illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters not be lifted and the office bearers recognized 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,” FIFA had warned on Tuesday.
Before the deadline expired on Wednesday nights, there were some words from the government that distanced itself from Asfhaq Hussain group and insisted that NC’s mandate should be respected.
However, the press conference by Fehmida Mirza, minister for IPC, was ignored by the group that claims to be the legal occupant of Football House as they came into power following the elections held on orders of supreme court in 2018. His election was never recognized by the FIFA or AFC.