Football row may lead to tougher sanctions: Haroon

Abdul Mohi Shah

As the FIFA has convened its Congress meeting on May 21, head of the PFF Normalisation Committee Haroon Malik Friday feared even a tougher outcome in case the Football House in Lahore is not vacated before the meeting.

Talking to The News on the telephone from Canada, Haroon said the FIFA Congress will discuss some important issues confronting the game and an update on Pakistan football would be sought.

“I fear even a tougher stance by the FIFA if the Football House in Lahore will not be vacated before the meeting. The FIFA Congress was originally scheduled to be held in Japan but it will now be held virtually on May 21. Pakistan football’s crisis will come under discussion with updates on the current status of Football House. Ongoing stalemate will only lead to tougher sanctions for Pakistan.”

Haroon reiterated his stance during his virtual meeting with Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Dr Fehmida Mirza and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Col (r) Asif Zaman.

“I have suggested that the ministry should play its role in getting vacated the Football House. I have given my commitment that the Normalization Committee was serious in conducting fair elections as prescribed in the FIFA Constitution. For the purpose we need a friendly atmosphere where every stakeholder should come forward and help us rather creating unnecessary hurdles in fulfilling our responsibilities. Had the Football House was not forcefully occupied, we would have a clear roadmap for holding PFF elections now.”

Haroon announced that once the Normalization Committee regains the control of Football House, making the next move in consultation with the stakeholders would not be difficult.

“I can assure you that once we regain the control of the house, we would be in a position to hold elections by completing all the requirements including clubs’ registration, scrutiny, district elections, and then Pakistan football elections within the next ten months.”

He added that even the FIFA was ready to contribute by using its most modern technology to register clubs as well as the players.

“The game’s governing body wants rational settlement and hopes that all those who want to see trouble-free future of Pakistan football would follow the FIFA’s laid down procedures.”

When asked when he would return to Pakistan, Haroon said whenever the Normalisation Committee would regain possession of the Football House, he would be flying back to Pakistan.

“I am a businessman, looking after my business ventures here. Once I know that the committee has regained the desired possession, I would get back to finalise the roadmap for elections.”

The committee’s chairman added that he had no objection regarding formation of the monitoring committee to oversee the transparency of PFF elections.

“All these issues can easily be negotiated but since the FIFA has a genuine stance we cannot move an inch forward before we get the House back.”

Haroon said the registration and scrutiny of clubs was a must.

“FIFA cannot accept one person holding more than one clubs’ presidency. In Sindh only, there is an individual who is holding presidency of more than 50 clubs. So we need tight scrutiny and a realistic approach before conducting elections in a free and fair manner.”

Football row may lead to tougher sanctions: Haroon

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