FIFA Congress endorses Pakistan’s return to international football

KARACHI: Some 195 nations at the FIFA Congress in Doha on Thursday voted in favor of restoring Pakistan’s membership once the relevant requirements have been met.

Only four nations voted against Pakistan. And this shows that in the next few days FIFA will lift the suspension it imposed on Pakistan in April last year due to third-party interference.

“It’s a big step forward,” a source from the FIFA-appointed Normalization Committee who attended the FIFA Congress told ‘The News’ from Doha.

A three-member delegation from NC, led by its president Haroon Malik, is in Doha. The delegation, which includes veteran members Shahid Khokhar and Haris Azmat, will also attend the 2022 FIFA World Cup draw ceremony on Friday (today).

While suspending Pakistan’s membership, FIFA said the suspension would be lifted only when NC wrote to it that it had regained access to PFF’s headquarters and accounts.

A few days ago NC regained access to the PFF headquarters and the accounts issue is also being addressed.

This correspondent has learned that the NC delegation also met with many countries and discussed mutual football relations with them.

An NC source told this correspondent that the NC delegation was also expected to hold meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa. .

It also became known that the NC delegation also held meetings with the football associations of Oman, Palestine and Lithuania.

“A very good meeting with Lithuania was held. We will invite them to international friendlies in Pakistan,” the source said.

The NC delegation also visited the Aspire Academy in Doha on Thursday, one of the world’s soccer training centers, which has multiple soccer fields.

NC has been working in Pakistan since September 2019. His immediate task was to conduct club registration and canvass, hold elections at the district, provincial and PFF levels within nine months. However, he did not do it. Several times, FIFA extended NC’s mandate, and in late 2020, FIFA also recomposed NC, bringing in Haroon instead of Hamza Khan as chairman and members were also replaced.

Now, after a strong commitment to the IPC Ministry, it is very likely that he will go to the PFF elections during the next few months. NC’s term is until June 30, 2022 and the world body could extend it further.

After FIFA lifts the suspension, the country will also be eligible to participate in international events.

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