Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) on Monday posted a message on social media, stating that Pakistan Football will come back stronger, following the attack on its headquarters which led to cancellation of the National Women’s Football Championship 2021.
“Our biggest concern is the safety and security of all of you, and our biggest fear was an invasion of the pitch, like they did of FIFA House,” the PFF Normalisation Committee chairman Haroon Malik’s message read.
The headquarters was attacked on Saturday (March 27) in Lahore. The FIFA-appointed PFF NC chairman Haroon Malik along with his staff had been taken hostage for more than an hour by some of the football officials (former PFF President Ashfaq Hussain Shah group) who were elected during a poll held by the Supreme Court in December 2018.
“I was forced to handover the organisation’s accounts and cheque books (to the attackers),” Malik told media. He further added that he had to break through a glass panel to escape the headquarters.
However, according to Ashfaq Shah, he led a delegation of officials to the PFF headquarters demanding that the PFF NC should hand back the headquarters’ control. He became president in that Supreme Court election which wasn’t recognised by FIFA. (DAWN reported)
“Ashfaq claimed that the glass was broken by Haroon as a reaction after he handed over charge of the headquarters,” the report added.
Hours after the attack, the PFF announced to cancel the ongoing National Women’s Football Championship 2021. Football players, sport journalists and the administration now fear that the unfortunate events may lead to another suspension by FIFA.
Earlier, Pakistan was banned by FIFA in 2015 due to “undue third-party interference” in the PFF but the ban was lifted in 2018.
The Captain of National men’s football team, Saddam Hussain, also expressed his concerns on the developing situation. “Save Pakistan football Save future of children of Pakistan do your part Be loyal with Green flag and Also this Beautiful Game of football,” Hussain wrote on Twitter.
Moreover, Malik announced on Sunday that FIFA would take strict action against those involved in the illegal occupation of the headquarters.
“We in due course will communicate whether it is a life ban or persona non grata status,” Malik added in a video message.
“We are making maximum efforts to avoid any further consequences for Pakistan football during this dark time,” Malik remarked in the video message.