LAHORE: Makhdoom Syed Faisal Hayat has bizarrely shifted the blame of Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) suspension by FIFA on the Sharif family, claiming that the national federation has been punished due to his political tiff with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership. Soon after FIFA suspended the PFF for third-party interference on Thursday, the Pakistan People’s Party politician gave a video statement that members of the Sharif family – Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz – wanted ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar running the PFF, which was 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,” said Faisal. “The intention of Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz was to install 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.” Faisal also seemed to take credit for those who are pursuing their footballing dreams abroad due to the PFF’s shambolic state. “Due to my personal efforts, Pakistan 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.” Faisal boasting continued with a list of things he claimed he had accomplished. “Due to my diplomatic efforts 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,” he warned. Throughout the video statement, Faisal seemed to view the PFF more as a battleground for his political rivalries rather than a sports governing body. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.