Islamabad, April 08: In a big blow to the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government, the World football governing body FIFA has suspended the membership of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) due to quoted third-party interference. FIFA has also ordered an unrecognized committee to vacate the national football federation's headquarters in the country.
FIFA in its statement said that the Bureau of the FIFA Council decided to suspend the Chadian Football Association (FTFA) with immediate effect due to government interference. It should be noted that third-party interference accounts for serious violations of the FIFA statutes and guidelines.
"This situation was prompted by the recent hostile takeover of the PFF headquarters in Lahore by a group of protestors and an alleged decision by certain individuals to remove the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee of the PFF led by Haroon Malik and to hand over the leadership of the PFF to Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah," the statement read.
FIFA had in a letter warned PPF that the illegal occupation of the building should be lifted and the office bearers recognised by the world body should be allowed to operate. "FIFA issued a letter warning that 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 to carry out their mandate, the matter would be immediately submitted to the Bureau of the Council for decision," the statement added.
FIFA decided to hand suspension to PFF after the illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters was not lifted. The suspension will be lifted only once FIFA receives a confirmation from the normalisation committee that it had gain control of the premises, accounts, administration, and communication channels to carry out all the work without any hindrance.
With that suspension, Pakistan’s national and club teams would not be eligible to take part in any FIFA international competitions. More importantly, Pakistan will no longer get FIFA development funding, which is worth around USD 1.25 million a year. It is very bad news for Pakistan as this defunding will affect the sports industry when the country is going through a big financial crisis. The country is currently ranked 200th out of FIFA's 210 teams.
This is not the first time, Pakistan has been suspended twice before because of government interference in the sport.