LAHORE - The FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee (NC) has unveiled the ‘Pakistan Football Connect’ programme in the country, with the aim of holding the PFF elections in a transparent manner.

Speaking at a press briefing here on Thursday, NC Chairman Haroon Malik said: “I want to congratulate the community on the launch of ‘Pakistan Football Connect’ programme. We now have a way to ensure that no stakeholder in Pakistan football is left unregistered or uncounted. This is the foundation of a robust system that Pakistan football was searching for and after many decades, we now have it.”

The FIFA Connect Programme helps football associations across the world organize their football in a more systematic and transparent way. Each stakeholder – clubs, officials, players, coaches and referees – is registered digitally and issued a unique FIFA ID. This code is like a digital football passport number and has the information of the history of each stakeholder.

In practice, this means that a player’s Connect ID, for example, will store their performance data such as which competition they’ve played in, which clubs have they represent, how they’ve performed, so on and so forth. Similarly, a referee’s involvement, performance and experience can be tracked – and subsequently, their training and posting opportunities decided on merit.

The programme is headquartered in Karachi with dedicated staff working to facilitate the registrations of various football stakeholders across the country. “For the comfort of football community in Pakistan, we have introduced ‘Urdu version’ of the program alongside the English one. Through such facilitation in the system, we hope to remove any accessibility barriers that the community may face.

“The club organizers will be able to work in a language they are comfortable with. They can also contact the officials concerned through a dedicated help-line and find information and guidance in English, Urdu and their respective regional languages,” he added.

Haroon said: “The NC has been trying to revolutionise football structure in Pakistan by registering the clubs, academies, associations, universities and schools under ‘FIFA Connect ID’ program. The NC is also planning to institutionalize futsal, beach and other formats of the game including E-football and will not only promote them but also provide proper support to popularize these games.”

NC Committee member Saud Hashimi said: “Pakistan Football Connect office in Karachi will provide every possible guidance to all the stakeholders timely so that the registration process may be completed well in time. The NC is trying to compile an authentic record of the football family of Pakistan including players, referees, coaches and club organizers.

“We will also compile a complete data of professional, amateur, junior and club players. The entire process will be completed in a transparent manner and on merit. The genuine stakeholders will be fully supported while the fake clubs, officials and players will be weeded out. We have also laid the foundations of a fair structure through this system based on ‘FIFA Connect ID’ and it will help in conducting the PFF elections fairly,” he asserted.

Hashimi believed that the entire system will be established and maintained in a professional way and it will help in attracting maximum sponsors for players and football of Pakistan. “Football is the most playing game of the world and it has all global corporate giants on board across the world. In Pakistan too, we will popularize it in such a way that it will become the first priority of the country’s corporate giants.”