KARACHI: Makhdoom Syed Faisal Hayat has bizarrely shifted the blame of Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) suspension on the Sharif family, claiming that the federation was punished due to his political tiff with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership.
Soon after FIFA suspended the PFF for third-party interference, the Pakistan People’s Party politician came up with the theory that members of the Sharif family — Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz — wanted ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar running the PFF, which is why the PFF’s suspension was engineered.
“It started with the forceful occupation of PFF headquarters by a mob of around 200 at the behest of the Sharif family,” a PFF statement said on Hayat’s behalf. “The intention of Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz was to install Captain Safdar as the PFF President but that could not happen due to strict FIFA and PFF statutes. State machinery and street power were extensively used to evict PFF staff from their offices.”
Instead of looking inwards for obvious flaws, the PFF supremo appeared more interested in blame game. “Sharif family’s lust to control every institution in Pakistan has destroyed Pakistan football,” he said. “Millions of football players and fans are losing their dreams due to the prevailing situation of football in the country. It has tarnished the global image of Pakistan.”
Hayat also seemed to take credit for those who are pursuing their footballing dreams abroad due to the PFF’s shambolic state. “Due to the personal efforts of Faisal Saleh Hayat, Pakistani referees and coaches were going for international courses, while players [were finding employment at] international clubs, but they will now have to return with immediate effect.”
The panegyrising of Hayat continued some more with a list of things he has allegedly accomplished. “Due to the diplomatic efforts of Faisal Saleh Hayat on international football front, Pakistan is included among the 50 destinations for FIFA World Cup 2018 Trophy’s world tour, which would portray a soft image of Pakistan to the rest of the world. If the suspension remains, Pakistan will be excluded from that,” the PFF warned.
Throughout the statement and an accompanying video interview, Hayat seemed to view the PFF more as a battleground for his political rivalries rather than a sports governing body.