LAHORE - FIFA-nominated PFF Normalization Committee (NC) Chairman Haroon Malik has said that ‘FIFA Connect Programme’ will not only revolutionize Pakistan football but also help in holding elections in a free and fair manner.

Addressing a press conference here at the FIFA Headquarters on Saturday, Haroon, along with other NC members Saud Hashmi, Barrister Haris Azmat and Shahid Niaz Khokhar, said: “First of all, we want to conduct the PFF elections in a transparent manner, so that the powers can be handed over to the elected body as soon as possible.

“The first challenge regarding holding the elections fairly is the registration of the clubs. The FIFA’s ‘Connect ID’ will ensure transparency in the process and help eliminate fake clubs. We are going to start the clubs’ registration next month,” he added.

It is worth mentioning here that the Connect Programme provides a unique FIFA ID code for every individual (football club) that has a role in the football organisation. This code is like a digital football passport number and has the information of the history of each stakeholder. Most of the FIFA members’ system is linked up with the ‘FIFA Connect Programme’.   Haroon Malik said that a dark era has finally ended with the continuous struggle and support of the football community, and the media also supported them in this bumpy ride. “Keeping in view the FIFA Charter, the NC remained on its principal stance, while fighting a legal battle on the internal front, it also conveyed this to the government houses that in case of continuing to deviate from the FIFA rules and regulations, Pakistan’s suspension might turn into a long-term ban.

“On the other hand, the NC convinced FIFA that taking any extreme step could be harmful for Pakistani footballers. However, thanks to the support of FIFA and AFC, the difficult journey is over, and now many goals are in front of the Normalization Committee, which will be completed gradually and professionally,” he added.

The NC chairman revealed that not only football activities will be restored at local level, but pragmatic steps will also be initiated to ensure the participation of national teams in international events. “This year, Pakistan will participate in the SAFF Women’s Championship that will take place in Nepal while we can also host two AFC youth events.

“A Disciplinary Committee will be formed to keep a close eye on irregularities in various cases so as to protect the assets of the PFF and the interests of the football community. The national men and women players will be provided maximum opportunities at national and international level so that they may improve their games and skills and also earn better livelihood for their families,” Haroon Malik concluded.