Even though Pakistan’s National Sport is Hockey and Cricket is the most followed game in the country, what people don't realize is that football is definitely the second most followed sport in Pakistan. And the most interesting part is if you look at the facts and to determine the following of football in Pakistan FIFA performed a big count in 2006, which turned up a number of nearly three million players Pakistan. So according to FIFA, Pakistan has about thirty lac players in 2006. And interestingly this number puts you into the top twenty countries of the world when it comes to number of football players. So Pakistan has more football players than Germany, therefore it is not the case that Pakistan does not have the players or the talent pool but it is a case of how the system deals with the that amount of talent and how the system treats and does to the talent pool. The Football World Cup 2014 was viewed by approximately fourteen million people in Pakistan which made Pakistan Asia’s Eighth largest market for the World Cup. And Five of the countries already play from Asia in 2018. This is down to the population of Pakistan but we have more and this is without having Pakistan perform at any significant international level in the world.


Unfortunately, Pakistan could not translate as a country, as a system into a winning team and a team that performs well. There are a number of countries that have progressed despite being in circumstances far worse than Pakistan. Afghanistan is war torn country that won SAFF championship in 2013 and Afghanistan is also performing well and even better than India in the World Cup Qualifiers 2022. Philippines a country which ranked over 170 in 2006, now played the Asian Cup year in 2020.  Elections of the Pakistan Football Federation held in 2015 were declared illegal by the Lahore High Court due to conflicts between rival groups. However, the decision led to a ban by FIFA in 2017.


Consequently, that became the first basis for banning Pakistan as FIFA saw that as interference in the running of the Pakistan Football Federation. The Lahore High Court appointed an administrator to run the Pakistan Football Federation house. So, FIFA and Pakistan Football Federation have their own constitution and any direct intervention by authorities from Pakistan is deemed a violation of that constitution. And that is exactly what happened here and in October 2017, Pakistan was banned for the first time by FIFA.

Formation of Noramlization Committee

Ashfaq Shah was given the presidency of the Pakistan Football Federation after the elections under the mandate of Supreme Court. But a big problem was that the elections were not recognized by FIFA. Even when the elections were conducted, FIFA only recognized the Faisal Saleh Hayat (the former Pakistan Football Federation President) led body. This as a result created a conflict that FIFA recognized party was the only one that was also globally recognized which would represent Pakistan in actuality. And in 2019, the problem reached to such a point that there were two national teams. Since the Faisal Saleh Hayat led party was the only one that was recognized, he was able to find a team that played for Pakistan’s World Cup Qualifiers in June 2019 and they ended up losing against Cambodia because the preparations were haphazard with the situation going around. So, a Normalization Committee is the last stand FIFA takes to resolve a mess like this. FIFA sends a Normalization Committee and in simple terms FIFA tell everyone to stay away and that the Normalization Committee will take charge of the Pakistan Football Federation. The Normalization Committee will run the charge of the daily affairs and they will hold free and fair elections and whoever comes into power is then considered and recognized by FIFA as well.

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