In a much embarrassing blow to the already “fragile” reputation of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), FIFA recently slapped it with a complete ban with immediate effect due to “undue third-party interference.”
As a result of this ban, PFF’s national and club teams are not entitled to take part in any international competitions until the suspension is lifted, FIFA said on Wednesday.
Bigger story: What “third-party interference” does the ban talk about?
PFF elected the much controversial figure Faisal Saleh Hayat as its president in 2015, which led to widespread allegations of corruption and vote rigging and eventually led to a stoppage in the running of the sport in Pakistan.
In an attempt to resolve the issue, one high court appointed a temporary administration body to look over the affairs of the federation until the matter was solved as according to the law of the land – but that move came in violation of FIFA statutes regarding political interference.
“The Bureau [of the FIFA Council] took this decision as a result of the fact that the PFF offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator, which constitutes a violation of the PFF obligations to manage its affairs independently and without influence from any third parties in accordance with the FIFA Statutes,” FIFA said in a statement.
Football reaches “an-all time low” in Pakistan
The Pakistan men’s national team hasn’t played a single game since 2015 and while its sister countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia are qualifying for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, Pakistan national team has hit rock-bottom with an all-time low ranking of 200.
Furthermore, the ban means none of the PFF’s members or officials can benefit from the development grants or training courses from FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
What’s next for PFF?
FIFA assured the PFF board that the ban would be lifted as soon as the offices and accounts of PFF are returned to them.
“The suspension will be lifted once the PFF offices and access to the PFF accounts are returned to the PFF.” FIFA said.
Faisal Saleh Hayat will be appearing in Lahore High Court next Tuesday in a bid to retake charge of the PFF.
But even if FIFA lifts the ban, the ever-increasing problems facing the future of football in Pakistan remain unmoved.