The Congress of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) suspended its President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat on charges of alleged financial corruption, rigging in elections and violation of Federation’s constitution. The Congress also removed Secretary General PFF Col. Ahmed Yar Lodhi from his post on the same charges. The congress further announced that the elections will now be held at Pakistan Football House Lahore, instead of the previously decided venue of Shangla Galli on June 30. The allegations of corruption in Pakistan Football Federation are not a surprise disclosure.

A former PFF secretary Hafiz Salman Butt reportedly is already going through a ban by the International Football Federation (FIFA) on similar charges. Faisal Saleh and Hafiz Salman have been active in politics for the last three decades. It seems that the coveted position in the national sports body seems to have been perpetually doled out as a favour to the politicians instead of a sportsman of repute, an act, which can always be avoided. The nomination of Kashmala Tariq as new chairperson, PFF Women Committee is proof that the authorities have learned nothing from the past experiences and are bent upon repeating the same mistake of putting square pegs in round holes.

It can easily be predicted that a combination of a politician with a former officer from the forces will again be given the reins of the PFF which would reflect complete disregard of the authorities for the sport itself.

Corruption in sports is not limited to Pakistan, though. It is emerging as a universal phenomenon. The FIFA, controlling body of the football in the world, is also under investigation of the FBI in USA on charges of bribery in allocating FIFA World Cup venues to Moscow and Qatar. The game of cricket has also been in the news for the last many years for corrupt practices in the Indian Premier League. However, none of those involved in the above scandals happen to be former politicians or ex-military men. Pakistani politicians turned sports managers are invariably involved in malpractices of all sorts. Almost all the so called elections in such bodies face allegations of rigging which indirectly confirm the already negative image of the country in this arena. Will our decision makers ever learn to take fair decisions in the larger public interest?