FIFA appointed committee takes control of Pakistan football

A picture shows the FIFA logo during a press conference held by the president of the football's governing body at the FIFA Executive Football Summit in Istanbul on Feb. 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 29 September 2019

FIFA appointed committee takes control of Pakistan football

  • Normalization bodies are imposed by FIFA if a member association is not following the organization’s statutes
  • The two factions of the Pakistan Football Federation have handed over their offices and accounts to the committee

LAHORE: A FIFA appointed normalization committee officially took charge of all formal football affairs in Pakistan on Friday, effectively relieving two rival factions of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) from their duties, according to FIFA-appointed and local football officials.
FIFA has the power to intervene in its member associations’ governance by imposing “normalization committees” on members that FIFA feels are not complying with the international governing body’s statutes, which contain a number of laws and regulations.
The new five-member normalization committee in Pakistan includes two members from each PFF faction, and a fifth neutral member selected by FIFA after a competitive interview and review process. The committee is led by chairman Humza Khan. The move has generally been welcomed by players and stakeholders, with hopes that Pakistan might finally be able to participate in international football events.
“The normalization committee has taken over the charge and will meet its target of scrutinizing the clubs and hold elections at district, provincial and national levels,” Col. (r) Mujahidullah Tareen, a member of FIFA’s normalization committee told Arab News.
“The committee will run day-to-day affairs of the PFF...we will also provide our footballers the opportunity to take part in international events in line with FIFA recommendations,” he said.
Football in Pakistan has been rife with controversy since 2015, and especially since last year, as the two PFF groups, one led by Faisal Saleh Hayat and the other by Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah, worked in parallel with one another. Hayat was recognized as Pakistan’s football chief by FIFA, while Ashfaq was elected as PFF president in an election held under the orders of the Supreme Court in December last year.
Funds from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) come into accounts controlled by the Hayat faction and the Normalization Committee’s funding will also come into that account. However, the Ashfaq faction controlled PFF headquarters in Lahore, and in a small ceremony, handed over control to FIFA’s new committee.
“We held a meeting and decided to handover PFF headquarters and our accounts to the normalization committee,” Sardar Naveed, Vice President of the Ashfaq faction, told Arab News.
A long-serving former secretary general of the other, Hayat faction, Col. Ahmad Yar Lodhi, said he hoped that going forward, the normalization committee would do its work without favoring any one side.
“FIFA has the power to make a normalization committee, and it should work without favoring any faction. Justice should prevail and should be seen, by the actions of the committee,” Lodhi told Arab News.
Out of FIFA’s 211 members, a number of associations have recently experienced normalization committee intervention, including Kuwait, Guatemala, Greece, Argentina and Thailand. 
According to a statement on FIFA’s website from June, the normalization committee’s mandate in Pakistan includes running the PFF’s daily affairs, ensuring proper registration and scrutiny of Pakistan’s football clubs, drafting and ratifying, with FIFA and AFC assistance, an electoral code for the PFF, organizing and conducting elections at district and provincial levels, and organizing and conducting elections of a new PFF executive committee.
“The newly elected PFF executive committee will then be tasked with revising the statutes of the PFF, jointly with FIFA and the AFC, within one year of its election in order to bring them in line with the requirements of FIFA and the AFC,” the statement said.
The normalization committee is set to take over control of PFF bank accounts on Monday, and fans of the game, as well as sports analysts, have welcomed what they hope is the end to internal PFF controversies.
 “The grouping in the federation damaged the game at large. We have potential and talent but internal conflicts in PFF ruined that all,” Zahid Maqsood, sports editor at Express News group told Arab News.
“The formation of the normalization committee by FIFA is a good omen for Pakistan Football, as it will help solve issues and bring talent to the surface,” he said.


Tuned in: Pakistani twins ride the wave of Ertugrul’s success with local soundtrack

Updated 26 May 2020

Tuned in: Pakistani twins ride the wave of Ertugrul’s success with local soundtrack

  • Musician brothers say reaction to the cover version has been a ‘breakthrough’ experience
  • Work gets millions of views, retweets by Turkish deputy minister, global bloggers

KARACHI: It’s got a ring to it.
Or so say fans and followers of 26-year-old Pakistani musician brothers, Leo Twins, after the duo created a cover version of Turkish drama Diriliş: Ertuğrul’s original soundtrack.
“We were actually asked by our fans to create a cover version of the original soundtrack in the comments section of our channel. So, it’s an amazing feeling to know that it’s being loved so much,” Sharoon Leo, one of the twins, said during an exclusive interview with Arab News.
It’s the cover track which accompanies the roll credits for Ertugrul Ghazi, the Urdu-dubbed version of the drama series which is based on the history of the Muslim Oghuz Turks from the 13th century, and was released on state-run PTV on April 25 after Prime Minister Imran Khan said it would “help the youth learn about Islamic values and history.”
Since being released on video-sharing platform Youtube three weeks ago, the soundtrack has already garnered 5.1 million views.
Sharoon told Arab News that while recreating the cover was a challenge – owing to the popularity of the OST conceptualized by Jenerik Müziği – they’ve tried to retain its “Middle-Eastern feel” as much as possible.
“We always try to do our covers differently from the originals,” Sharoon said talking about their cover versions of HBO’s popular series, Game of Thrones, and Pakistani drama Mere Pass Tum Ho.
“There was an instrument in the original track which we thought could best be replaced with the rubab. We also enhanced the violin, which was not very obvious initially,” he explained.

A screengrab from the music video of the track 'Hum Zalmi' featuring Leo Twins.

While Sharoon plays the violin and cello, his twin, Haroon works with other instruments such as the guitar, rubab, tabla, piano, cajon, ukulele, mandolin, darbuka, and more.
Together, they set up Leo Twins, a namesake of their zodiac sign, in their birthplace of Rawalpindi in 2012.
Sharoon credits their success to their “real teacher in music,” Ustad Idrees Ahmed Khan, explaining how a simple gesture of kindness on his part set the tone for their triumphant rise.
“One day, we saw a guitar and violin at a shop, but did not have enough money to buy them. So, we sold our new mobiles and paid for the instruments. Ustaad Idrees Ahmed Khan, who used to give music lessons at the shop, was observing us the whole time, and asked if we would like to learn music from him for free. He said it was because he saw a passion in us for music, which was rare those days, especially in our generation,” Sharoon said.
That was eight years ago, and while they’ve had several hits and misses through the years, they got their first big break in 2015, after featuring alongside music giants, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam, as part of their team on Nescafe Basement’s Season 3.
However, nothing compares to the accolades they’ve received for the Ertugrul cover, Sharoon said, with the soundtrack being retweeted by Turkish Deputy Minister Ali Shaheen and several other bloggers in Turkey.
“It has attracted a very different audience. We have been doing covers to pay tribute to our legendary artists for several years now and could only gather 45,000 subscribers. Still, after we uploaded the Ertugrul Ghazi soundtrack, the number of subscribers has crossed 243K. This soundtrack has given us a new breakthrough,” he said.