KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) could be banned by the game’s governing body, FIFA, due to third-party interference.
The officials of the PFF Normalisation Committee (NC) were ousted from their headquarters in Lahore on Tuesday due to a dispute with the Punjab Revenue Department over the lease of the building.
The development came after a district and sessions court in Lahore lifted the stay order taken by the PFF on the matter.
The officials of the Punjab Revenue Department, who claim that the lease was cancelled in 2021, have also taken control of the building.
"It was shocking news for us. The lease infraction took place in 2008. We are working with the government to resolve this issue. I don't know how we will play against Saudi Arabia in our next match,” said PFF NC Chairman Haroon Malik.
“I hope football doesn’t suffer in Pakistan due to administrative issues once again,” he added.
Pakistan football fans also expressed their disappointment over the matter and took to X, formerly Twitter, to urge the local and federal government to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
Balochistan's Interim Minister for Youth, Cultural Affairs and Sports, Nawabzada Jamal Khan Raisani, also assured the football fraternity in Pakistan that he “is in touch with the relevant departments to resolve the issue”.
“I won’t let football stop in Pakistan,” he asserted.
It must be noted that a suspension was also imposed on the PFF in April 2021 due to undue third-party interference. However, the Bureau of the FIFA Council decided on June 29, 2022, to lift the suspension after it received confirmation that the PFF NC had regained full control of the PFF’s premises and was in a position to manage its finances.
“The PFF was also informed that any undue interference in its affairs or action that could hinder the fulfilment of the mandate of the normalisation committee might lead to the PFF being suspended again and/or the imposition of other sanctions provided for in the FIFA Statutes,” FIFA said in a statement.
The FIFA Council also extended the mandate of the PFF NC by nine months, earlier this year. The NC’s tenure was supposed to end on June 30, 2023, but will now stay in charge till March 2024.
Recently, Pakistan beat Cambodia 1-0 to register first win in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers history in Islamabad on Tuesday.
Harun Hamid scored the winning goal for Pakistan in the 67th minute of the match.
The first leg of the tie between the two sides ended goalless in Cambodia.
Pakistan will now clash with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tajikistan in Group G in round two of the qualifiers, which begins next month.