FIFA suspends Pakistan football federation

Pakistan’s membership in FIFA was suspended on Wednesday, and an unrecognized committee was ordered to vacate the national football federation’s headquarters in the region.

Since 2019, a FIFA-appointed committee has been in charge of Pakistan football, but members were ejected from their Lahore office last week by a party claiming to have held valid elections.

“The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has been suspended until further notice,” FIFA said in a statement from its headquarters in Zurich.

“PFF representative and club teams are therefore no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted.”

The ban means Pakistan — whose last international match was against Cambodia in June 2019 — will no longer get FIFA development funding, worth around $1.25 million a year.

Pakistan, a giant at regional level in the 1960s and 70s, has been suspended twice before because of government interference in the sport.

The country is currently ranked 200th out of FIFA’s 210 teams.

Pakistan’s supreme court ordered the national football body to hold elections in 2019, which were claimed by a group led by a businessman, Ashfaq Hussain.

But the Asian Football Confederation refused to accept the result, and FIFA appointed a normalisation committee to run the federation’s affairs until recognised elections could be held.

Ashfaq’s group claimed to have done that last week, and took possession of the headquarters.

“It’s shameful,” former international Aurangzeb Shahmir told AFP, calling the latest suspension a “black day” for Pakistan football.

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