It would hardly be false to say that football is at its lowest ebb in Pakistan, with no victory in any tournament since 2006, and the affairs of the team a mess. This is not surprising considered the fact that Punjab Football Association (PFA) is constantly embroiled in politics, and lets its never-ending internal conflicts impact quality of the sport and teams in Pakistan.

Lahore saw another fresh controversy regarding the elections of PFA, which are to be held. A group headed by Rana Ashraf contested the elections being held in Lahore on the order of the Supreme Court and raised serious doubts over the fairness of the polls. They claimed that that the election commissioner advocate, Ali Raza, was instructed by the Supreme Court to supervise the elections, but instead of holding the elections by himself, Ali Raza had formed an election commission for Punjab to hold the elections.

This is not the first time that such political disputes have erupted in the PFA. In 2015, a similar controversy arose, where the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President Faisal Saleh Hayat had colluded in the election for PFA chief after having earlier called off the election, leaving the Rana Ashraf group disadvantaged. This lead to turmoil in the PFF, and enabled it to be split in two different factions.

With such conflict and divisions in the PFF, it is no surprise that Pakistan’s football is not doing well or winning accolades. It makes for a good case study to compare the PFA to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The PCB in 2013 had become a mess under Najam Sethi, due to a myriad of political interferences and internal disputes. PCB prospered when it set politics aside and became a professional sports board. Sadly, PFA is shamefully still stuck in the past.