PFF NC gets another extension but is now fighting on two fronts

Sports Desk

Yet another extension to the mandate of the Pakistan Football Federation’s Normalisation Committee was announced late on Friday night.

But still, there seems no end in sight to the crisis that has plagued Pakistan football for the last six years.

The FIFA-appointed NC will get another three months, the global football body said in a news release, saying that ‘considerable progress on the judicial and government fronts’ had been achieved by the Haroon Malik-led committee.

That progress is to have the suspension of Pakistan lifted. Pakistan was suspended in April, when the court-elected PFF led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah took over control of the PFF headquarters from the NC.

FIFA has been adamant that the suspension won’t be lifted until the headquarters are returned to the NC, which has been successful in seizing control of the PFF accounts through a court case.

In a bid to ease the situation, the NC has sought government support and it said earlier this month that an election roadmap had been given to the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and the Pakistan Sports Board.

However, Ashfaq said on Saturday, that there was no chance that the headquarters would be handed back to the NC until its composition is changed.

We don’t accept this NC and we’ve made this clear several times,” Ashfaq told Dawn. “We’re open to an election held by a neutral NC but the current one isn’t neutral.”

IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, who has been holding talks with both the Ashfaq Shah group and the NC in a mediator role, told Dawn on Saturday that ‘another round of talks is planned’ for a resolution.

The NC was initially appointed in September 2019, four years after a controversial PFF election had plunged Pakistan football into turmoil.

Its initial mandate was nine months before the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic forced FIFA to give it an extension till September 2020 and eventually till the end of the year.

Initially led by Humza Khan, the NC leadership and its composition changed following the chairman’s resignation and Haroon was handed over its reins in January this year with an initial six-month mandate to hold fresh elections of the PFF.

The takeover of the PFF took place after Dawn revealed that Haroon had been given powers to amend the PFF constitution and that, with FIFA taking legal advice on the ground, an election wasn’t going to be held until 2022, when the term of Ashfaq, who came into power through an election held by the Supreme Court in December 2018, expires.

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