Both the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and the Chadian Football Association (FTFA) have been suspended by FIFA with immediate effect, on the grounds of third-party and government interference respectively.
Local media reported that a group of football officials, which was elected by the Supreme Court in 2018 to run the PFF but was not recognised by FIFA, took over the headquarters last month, led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah. Subsequently, the group seized control from the FIFA Normalisation Committee (NC) overseen by Haroon Malik.
The ‘hostile takeover’ and illegitimate occupation of the PFF offices constitutes ‘serious violation of the FIFA Statutes’, the organisation said in its statement.
Under the terms of the suspension, Pakistan – which was also suspended by FIFA for third-party interference in 2017- and Chad will not receive any funds from the global football authority, and will be barred from official competitions with development projects also paused for the duration.
The international football governing body said: “FIFA issued a letter warning that, should the illegitimate occupation of the PFF headquarters not be lifted and the office bearers recognised by FIFA not be permitted free access to the building to carry out their mandate, the matter would be immediately submitted to the Bureau of the Council for decision.
“As the situation remains unchanged, the Bureau of the Council has decided to suspend the PFF.”
According to reports, Ashfaq has been urged to hand back control to the normalisation committee by several individuals, including Pakistan national team captain Kaleemullah Khan and women’s team midfielder Abiha Haider.
Khan warned The Athletic in an interview that the suspension could ‘destroy’ football in the company, questioning how players will cope without income from the sport and explaining how it will damage youth teams especially.
“The bans are hurting Pakistan football, and the youth in particular,” he told The Athletic. “An under-12 youth player will have now lost five years due to the two bans. Their time is moving but there is no footballing activity.”
FIFA has confirmed that the suspension will only be lifted once it has received confirmation from the normalisation committee that the PFF premises, accounts, administration and communication channels are again under its full control.
Meanwhile, the Chadian FA has already been stripped of its powers by the Chadian Ministry of Youth and Sports in March after the organisation raised concerns about the way the FTFA was operated.
The country was also disqualified from the Africa Cup of Nations by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as a result of the alleged political involvement
“Following the suspension of the Chadian Football Federation by the Chadian Ministry of Youth and Sports, CAF has decided to disqualify the national team of Chad from the qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations 2021,” CAF confirmed.