FIFA gives 24-hour ultimatum for ‘illegitimate occupation’ of PFF office to end

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Karachi

The Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) has given a 24-hour ultimatum for the “illegitimate occupation” of the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) headquarters to end or face possible suspension.

In a letter sent to the chairperson of the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) Normalisation Committee (NC), Haroon Malik, FIFA Secretary-General Fatma Samoura said she had “great concern” over “the unfortunate incidents” last week by Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah’s group of protesters who had stormed the Lahore headquarters of its counterpart in the country and seized control of the affairs.

On Saturday, Shah, who had won the PFF elections held on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2018, stormed the PFF’s headquarters in Lahore in a hostile takeover, forcing Malik to leave and taking over the control of all matters.

Shah has never been recognised as the PFF’s elected president or representative by either the FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Samoura’s letter — a copy of which was obtained exclusively by The News — read that the international body “would like to remind all relevant parties, in particular, the individuals who invaded the PFF premises, that the normalisation committee of PFF is the sole executive body of PFF recognised by FIFA”.

The PFF’s officials and employees had to be evacuated during the hostile takeover when “the offices had been invaded by a group of protestors, who support Mr Syed Ashfaq Hussain”.

The top FIFA official said the body “strongly condemns” the incidents and “considers such actions to be totally unacceptable”.

It also demanded the NC’s officials be handed over control of the headquarters by Wednesday evening or the body would take action against the PFF, which included a possible suspension.

The takeover “constitutes an undue interference in the affairs of the Federation, therefore violating the obligations imposed on PFF”, she underlined.

“Should the illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters not be lifted and the office bearers recognised 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,” she wrote.—AFP