Published in The Nation, on Mar 13th, 2022,
LAHORE – The day – Saturday (March 12, 2022), when the headquarters of Pakistan Football Federation (the FIFA House) have been handed back to FIFA, will be remembered as historic day in Pakistan football history as it will not only melt the hearts of FIFA to lift ban on the PFF but also put Pakistan football back on track.
After the interference of Pakistan government in the PFF issue, the charge of FIFA House was handed over to PFF Normalisation Committee member Shahid Niaz Khokhar by Senior Member Board of Revenue Babar Hayat Tarar on Saturday. Credit first of all goes to IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, who, under the vision and directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, took keen interest in the entire issue and remained in contact with FIFA, AFC, NC officials and finally, she remained successful in her mission of helping the FIFA’s NC get back the FIFA House.
Taking her twitter handle, Dr Fehmida Mirza said: “I congratulate football athletes and football fans. Football House has been returned to FIFA. We are looking forward to early restoration of Pakistan membership and a partnership with NC for fair and transparent elections.”
In a tweet after getting back FIFA House, NC Chairman Haroon Malik thanked government for resolving this issue. “Congratulations to the football family on the return of Football House! The FIFA NC recognizes and lauds the contributions of Dr. Fehmida Mirza in achieving this momentous milestone. We thank the entire football family for their support, it is now time to move forward together.”
He added: “Dr Fehmida’s rigorous efforts were fully supported by the Prime Minister who stayed in touch with the situation till the last moment. His keen interest and kind directives saved Pakistan football and footballers from further deprivation, who will now on get their due rights and will be seen in action in healthy football activities first at national level and then at international level as well.
“I would personally express my gratitude to the NC members including Shahid Khokhar, Haris Azmat and Saud Hashimi for their steadfast and untiring efforts in the face of adversity. I am proud of you. To FIFA, for their ongoing support and efforts, we are grateful. Onwards! Get ready everyone – time for Kick-off,” Haroon tweeted.
It is worth mentioning here that besides PM Imran Khan and IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi and Minister Asad Umar also played an active role in convincing and highlighting the PFF issues in front of the PM and giving their strong stance in favour of PFF NC that paved way for the NC getting back FIFA House. This move will also pave the way for lifting of FIFA suspension on Pakistan. After which, the FIFA House will be full of footballers and ideas to bring Pakistan football back on track and take it to new heights.
The hostels at the FIFA House have the greater significance as far as the training, growth and professionalism of the national teams’ players is concerned. This is the facility, where the national teams are provided the best accommodation, training and education. After getting back the FIFA House, now players will again feel them back into international scenario.
Getting FIFA House back provide an opportunity for NC to start working their already prepared eight-month-long roadmap and this process will begin later this month and the NC is confident to hold free and fair PFF elections.