Ashfaq not ready to leave PFF as Fifa ban looms

Football governing body had issued ultimatum to 'opponents' of football house to vacate it by 8pm Tuesday evening


Natasha Raheel March 31, 2021

KARACHI:

Fifa’s ban on Pakistan is getting closer as the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) headquarters are still in possession of the Supreme Court ordered election winners Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah-led Group and the deadline given by the international body expires at 8pm Pakistan time for he Normalisation Committee to have the control back at the football house.

On Wednesday, when the entire football community has been on the edge and even received an encouraging response by the Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida MIrza, stating in a press conference that the mandate of the Fifa-approved NC should be respected and the group that has occupied the PFF headquarters should let the committee work.

Hussain was still oblivious of the press conference by the minister, who was also looking after the Pakistan Sports Board.

"I don’t know about any press conference," Hussain told The Express Tribune at 5pm, three hours before the Fiffa deadline, earlier in the afternoon.

Hussain had also said: "This is not a deadline from God, or holy in anyway, but we will see."

Hussain believes that he is the rightful PFF president representing his congress that was given a mandate through the Supreme Court ordered elections. 

"I’m answerable to the Supreme Court, and I must uphold this. It is a responsibility given to me. I am not alone, there is a congress behind me, and my mandate according to that election will end in 2022," explained Hussain. 

When asked how he gave the charge of the Fifa headquarters to the then NC chief Humza Khan, he said the agreement was on a good will. 

"I follow the law of the land and Fifa must listen to our side of the story too. I am the President with a mandate through elections, and if tomorrow the Supreme Court asks me what I did with my job, I will be held in contempt of court. Who will save me from that if I don’t do my job right now. I gave the charge to NC and Humza on a gentleman’s word, and he said that the NC will hold free and fair elections. We waited for 19 months and we see nothing. That says something else, it means they  are not intending to hold elections any time soon," said Hussain.

He added that the current NC chief Haroon Malik has not contacted him for any dialogue, and he had not heard of any government meeting till 5pm on Wednesday. 

He further elaborated that the National Women Championship was only continued by his faction so that the players can get the field time, and the ones who are deciding to not compete anymore are free to go. 

The Hussain-led group also sent out the draws for the National Women’s Championship semi-finals, on April 1.

Hussain further said that he did not attack Malik in any way at the PFF house, as reported in the media. "We went to the PFF headquarters with the congress members, we did not intend any violence or harassment, he left the building on his own leaving behind a broken glass," said Hussain. The account is contradictory to Malik’s. 

On the other hand, Hussain added that he needs his congress to decide anything on vacating the PFF headquarters. 

"I’m not alone, or the sole person to decide this. I have my congress, I can’t get them all here from across the country in a few hours, so I can’t say much on it. I’ll be seeking their council, I have no meeting for today till now, and getting all members of the congress will take two to three days,’ said Hussain. 

Hussain’s group took on PFF headquarters from the NC staff and Malik on Saturday. By Tuesday Fifa was adamant that the suspension is on the cards if the situation is not resolved as it is taking the occupation as an ‘undue interference’ in a letter signed by the Fifa Secretary General Fatima Samoura that called the occupation illegitimate.

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