ISLAMABAD: Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza on Wednesday sought time from FIFA to resolve the issue of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in an amicable way. The world’s football governing body on Tuesday had issued a stern warning to the Syed Ashfaq Hussain group, asking them to hand back the national federation’s headquarters to the Normalisation Committee, appointed by FIFA, or else the country will face a suspension. The Ashfaq-led group on Saturday forcefully took control of the PFF headquarters. Ashfaq was elected PFF president in 2018 in elections held under the Supreme Court’s decision. But FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation had refused to recognise him as the elected president, ruling the Supreme Court’s move as a ‘third-party interference’ in running of the national football body. During that time, Pakistan was also suspended for a six-month period from October 2017 to March 2018 for a court appointed administrator taking over the PFF headquarters from then PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat. In 2019, FIFA installed the Normalisation Committee –– initially headed by Humza Khan –– to strengthen the football structure in Pakistan, aiming to achieve a functioning administration by conducting transparent elections. After Humza’s resignation in December 2020, FIFA named Haroon Malik as chairman of the Normalisation Committee. It pertinent to mention that the Ashfaq-led group handed the charge to the FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee in September 2019 on the condition that it would hold fair and transparent elections. Tensions have been brewing over the past months between the group led by Ashfaq and the Normalisation Committee over what they see as a delay in holding elections. Ashfaq along with his group took over the control of the PFF headquarters from the Normalisation Committee, stating that it was not serious in holding elections as mandated by FIFA. “The government has nothing to do with the incident that took place on Saturday at the PFF headquarters. It wants the FIFA Normalisation Committee should be given full time,” the Minister told a news conference here at Press Information Department. “We’ve written a letter to FIFA to send its fact finding commission to Pakistan. We do not want the game of football to be ruined in Pakistan. “We’ve told FIFA that we want to resolve the issues of Pakistan Football Federation. The immediate ban on Pakistan is not a solution to the problem,” she added. The Minister said that sports were being damaged in Pakistan due to the personal interests of some individuals. “The mandate of the Normalisation Committee is till June 30 this year. The government’s position is very much clear that the issue can be resolved in accordance with the mandate given by FIFA. I want the Ashfaq-led group and Normalisation Committee to sit together and resolve this issue amicably,” she maintained. Fehmida noted that there was a tussle between personalities in football in Pakistan, which was putting a very bad impact on the game. Parliamentary Secretary Saima Nadeem, Secretary IPC Mohsin Mushtaq, and newly appointed DG PSB Col (r) Muhammad Asif Zaman were also present on the occasion. The Minister said that the centre and the provinces would have to work together to revive sports activities at the grassroots level. “Grounds and gyms should be an essential part of the new housing projects to promote a healthy culture in the country,” she emphasized. “The sports federations should also showcase their performance and ensure merit in the selection,” she said. Replying to a question, she said that the appointment of DG PSB had been made in accordance with the law and rules. “There is no politics involved in it. His appointment has been made keeping in view the merit.” She said those not meeting the merit had moved the courts. The DG PSB said that he himself had been a sportsperson and served in Pakistan Army for 32 years. “I have been in the field of sports for 12 years. I have accepted my appointment as a challenge and will do my best to promote sports in the country,” he said.