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Footballer Hajra appeals to President, PM for help after FIFA ban

KARACHI: Pakistan women’s football team captain Hajra Khan has appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi to provide support to players after FIFA suspended Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) due to third-party interference.

On a social media website, Hajra said that the FIFA ban was “embarrassing” for Pakistan as the country is led by a former sportsperson Imran, who also won the nation its first cricket world cup.

“There is still hope and we do expect a response from you two,” the 27-year-old said in a video addressed to Alvi and Imran on Twitter.

She said, “We do expect the country to back us when we need them the most right now. It is a request, it might not be humble anymore, but it is a request. (And) it is a need. It all relies on you.”

On April 7, FIFA had announced the suspension of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) after a hostile takeover of its headquarters and outside interference.

In a statement, the Bureau of the FIFA Council said it had suspended the PFF with immediate effect due to third-party interference, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA statutes.

It said the situation was prompted by the recent hostile takeover of the PFF headquarters in Lahore by a group of protestors and an alleged decision by certain individuals to remove the FIFA-appointed normalization committee of the PFF led by Haroon Malik and to hand over the leadership of the PFF to Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah.

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.

It added that as the situation remains unchanged, the Bureau of the Council has decided to suspend the PFF. “This suspension will only be lifted once FIFA has received confirmation from the normalization committee of the PFF that the PFF’s premises, accounts, administration and communication channels are again under its full control and it can continue to carry out its mandate without further hindrance,” it said.

On March 27, 2021, the Football House building in Lahore was attacked by Ashfaq Shah and his group members. The alleged took over the PFF house, harassed the staff members there and took away the checkbooks which halted all the activities of football in the country.