Hayat gets AFC recognition

KARACHI: Pakistan’s football chief on Saturday received a boost in his fight to ward off the challenge of a rival body when the Asian football body recognised his re-election.

Last month a rival group, allegedly linked to the government of Prime Minsiter Nawaz Sharif, sacked the incumbent Pakistan Football Federation president Faisal Saleh Hayat, claiming to have a majority support and demanded new elections on June 30. Under Federation of International Football Associations rules, government influence is an infringement and could lead to a ban at the international level.

The Lahore High Court intervened and ordered the election be postponed, but Hayat went ahead with the polls nonetheless and was reelected. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) acknowledged Hayat’s election and offer him there support, a blow to the federation’s rival faction. “Please accept my sincere congratulations and best wishes on your re-election as president of the PFF. Your re-election is a testimony of the faith and the confidence the football family had in your ability,” Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, president AFC said in a message to Hayat.

“As AFC president and your representative in FIFA, I assure you of the full AFC support for your efforts to uncover the true potential of this beautiful game in your country,” said Khalifa. Hayat said AFC’s support was a boost. “The AFC support is a great encouragement and will help us to lift our efforts for the betterment of Pakistan football,” said Hayat.