KARACHI: Pakistan’s football federation Wednesday announced the re-election of its president Faisal Saleh Hayat despite orders from a court not to hold a vote until the objection of a rival faction had been resolved.
The move is set to plunge the sport into further controversy following the formation last month of a rebel Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) reportedly linked to the ruling political party, which had demanded a new election be held on June 30.
The Lahore High Court Monday issued a stay order against the election, directing both sides to appear before a judge on July 6, but the Hayat-led PFF went ahead with the vote in the holiday resort of Changla Gali in the country’s northwest on Tuesday, where he was re-elected president for a fourth term.
A spokesman for the Hayat-led PFF said the election was held in accordance with the rules and in the presence of an observer from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
"Since we did not receive the court’s orders, we went ahead with the elections in the presence of an observer from the AFC [ …] and the elections were held under AFC and FIFA rules," the spokesman said.
The Hayat-led PFF has alleged the rebel faction is being backed by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Under FIFA (International Football Federation) rules government interference in the running of a board is forbidden and punishable by a suspension.
Farasat Ali Shah, acting secretary of the splinter PFF, termed the election "illegal and a contempt of court".
"We respected the court’s orders and did not hold elections," Shah said. "They have committed contempt of court by holding elections and we term them illegal."
Shah also alleged that Hayat had violated the country’s national sports policy that allowed the president only two terms.
International bodies like the International Olympic Committee and FIFA do not recognise Pakistan’s sports policy and only recognise officials who are elected according to their own rules.
Pakistan is ranked 170 in world football and has never qualified for a World Cup. (Agencies)