Federation Internationale de Football Association suspends Pakistan for third-party interference

FIFA suspends PFF, but where is the roadmap for reinstatement?

A few hours after his hat-trick helped Argentina qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia, superstar forward Lionel Messi breathed a sigh of relief after catching the news that FIFA has suspended the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).

"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 federation has been in turmoil ever since the election of Faisal Saleh Hayat as its president in 2015 amid allegations of vote-rigging.

This comes as a big low for the Pakistan national football team and all its allies as they will now be disallowed from participating in all the worldwide events that will be organised by the global football governing body and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

In addition, members and officials from the Pakistani organisation won't have access to development grants or training courses issued by FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Moreover, and in accordance with Article 16 paragraph 3 of the FIFA statutes, other member associations may not entertain sporting contact with the PFF during its suspension. They claim the suspension comes due to "undue third-party interference". In a statement sent to Reuters, Shahid Khokhar, an ally of Hayat, lay the blame for PFF's trouble at the feet of Muhammad Safdar, senior PML-N lawmaker and the son-in-law of recently ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

"It's a big loss for us today as none of our players, coaches or referees now could travel overseas until we are suspended", Hayat said.

World football's governing body FIFA announced on Wednesday to suspend Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) with immediate effect, but it has provided no roadmap for reinstatement of Pakistan Football.

"The trophy tour would have been a big boost to Pakistan's image worldwide, but now even that tour is in danger. We are consulting the stake-holders to evolve future strategy after FIFA's decision", Shah said. "Otherwise, our football will suffer".

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