FIFA lifts suspension of Pakistan Football Federation

Teams from Pakistan now allowed to compete internationally after 15-month suspension lifted by FIFA.

Pakistan was also suspended by FIFA for third-party interference in 2017.[Rahat Dar/EPA]

FIFA has lifted the suspension of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) which was imposed due to undue third-party interference.

A group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah, which was elected by the Supreme Court in 2018 to run the PFF but was not recognised by FIFA, took over the headquarters in March last year.

They had seized control from FIFA’s normalisation committee (NC) headed by Haroon Malik, with Shah saying the committee had not conducted elections for the body in the 18 months since it took charge.

FIFA suspended the PFF due to the “hostile takeover” but said on Thursday in a statement that it now had confirmation the committee 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 added in the statement.

“As the deadline by which the normalisation committee was required to fulfil its mandate [30 June 2022] is now no longer realistic, the Bureau [of the FIFA Council] has also decided to extend the committee’s mandate until 30 June 2023 at the latest.”

Pakistan was also suspended by FIFA for third-party interference in 2017.

Shah was named PFF president after a 2018 election held on the instruction of the country’s Supreme Court.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation refused to recognise him as the elected president, ruling the court’s move a “third-party interference” in the running of the national football body.

In 2019, FIFA installed the NC – initially chaired by Humza Khan – to strengthen the football structure in Pakistan, with the aim of achieving a functioning administration by conducting transparent elections.

After Khan’s resignation in December 2020, FIFA named Malik as the body’s chair.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters