The FIFA-appointed Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee chairman Haroon Malik on Saturday said that the process of holding elections of the country’s football governing body will start from next month with the first step being the registration of clubs from across the country through the FIFA-Connect ID system.
Haroon was addressing the first press conference by the NC since the near 15-month suspension on the PFF was lifted by FIFA last month, with the NC having been given a one-year extension to its mandate to put Pakistan football back on track with free and fair elections of the PFF, which has been embroiled in crisis since 2015.
“We have not fixed a date for the election just yet but the election process from district to the highest level will start from next month and would be completed according to the PFF constitution which allows a span of eight months to complete them,” Haroon told reporters.
“Once the club registration is completed, the process of scrutiny will begin through district-level tournaments. The Connect ID system will help prepare a transparent voting list of the clubs.”
Asked if he was going to call a meeting with the stakeholders to take them into confidence on the rules and regulations of the elections to ensure their smooth conduct in order to avoid any litigation, Haroon said: “Some people are coming and meeting the NC and a meeting with stakeholders could also be held.”
Pakistan was suspended by FIFA in April last year following a takeover of the PFF headquarters by a group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah. With NC out of office, it gave the government an eight-month roadmap to hold the elections once the suspension was lifted in order to gain back control of the PFF headquarters.
Initially, the suspension was to be lifted when the NC had regained full control of all assets, including bank accounts. However, FIFA lifted the suspension despite a case regarding the accounts being heard in court as an alternate arrangement was made to receive funding from the global football body.
The PFF headquarters were in dilapidated condition on Saturday with the press conference room lacking in many basic facilities.
“The conditions of the assets of the PFF like air conditioners, vehicles and of other office equipments is not in very good condition, the accounts of the NC are still frozen and although FIFA has decided to make alternate arrangements to provide funds to the NC, it has not yet started,” Haroon informed.
The PFF NC chief added that the national team will take part in next month’s SAFF Women’s Championship in Nepal and preparations for it will begin in due course.
Haroon became the NC chairman in January last year following the resignation of the previous chair has seen much of his tenure affected by the long suspension but said more good news for Pakistan’s football will come in the future.
“Players who had performed during the last edition of the National Women’s Championship [which was disrupted due to the takeover of the PFF headquarters] will be called for the trials to select the team,” said Haroon.“Keeping in view the venue of the championship, the training camp would be held in a suitable city.”