FIFA has banned the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) with immediate effect on account of “undue 3rd-party interference.”
In a statement, world football’s governing body said it had suspended the PFF in accordance with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council dated Tuesday.
“The Bureau took this decision as a result of the fact that the PFF offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator, which constitutes a violation of the PFF obligations to manage its affairs independently and without influence from any third parties in accordance with the FIFA Statutes,” the statement read.
The election of politician Faisal Saleh Hayat as PFF president two years ago and subsequent allegations of vote-rigging meant football has effectively ground to a halt in the traditionally cricket-orientated country.
The men’s national team has not played a game since 2015, which has seen it slump to an all-time FIFA ranking of 200 and there is no professional football league.
The suspension also means the PFF will lose its FIFA membership rights and will not benefit from any development programs, courses or training from FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Following the decision, Pakistani club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions, a ban which FIFA said will be lifted once the PFF’s offices and access to the accounts are returned to federation.
The PFF will also be barred from all contact with other member associations for the duration of the ban.
“The suspension has put our footballers’ future in danger. This is bad news. Now our players won’t be able to play internationally and even our domestic football will suffer… it will suffer badly,” Hayat told Geo News.
He said FIFA’s laws are very clear and they do not allow for any undue third-party interference.
“FIFA had sent Pakistan a very clear message. It [FIFA] had told us it would suspend us if the political interference did not end,” Hayat told Geo News Pakistan.
Given the ban, the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy, which embarked on a global tour of 50 countries last month, may now not stop in Pakistan at all.
“The trophy tour would have been a big boost to Pakistan’s image worldwide, but now even that tour is in danger.
“If we want to play football, we would have to follow FIFA’s laws. Otherwise, our football will suffer.”