Pakistani sports always seem to be in the news for the wrong reason. As the International Tennis Federation (ITF) is forced to intervene to settle the conflict over the Pakistan-India tie of the Davis Cup, petitions have been filed challenging the appointment of Misbah- Ul-Haq as the Head Coach and Team Selector of Pakistan’s Cricket Team. Dwarfing all of these developments is the news that FIFA recently announced a Normalisation Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), naming Humza Khan, a former captain of Karachi FC, as its chairman, four years after a controversial election plunged football in the country into an existential crisis.

The Normalisation Committee will be to hold fresh elections of the PFF by 15 June 2020 and would then cease to function; hopefully having brought in a capable and non-controversial cast at the helm of affairs.

This is welcome news; the chairman of Normalisation Committee seems to be a nonpartisan and diligent selection which will help bring back legitimacy to the PFF. However, one cannot help lamenting the lost years where Pakistan’s participation in the global footballing universe was sacrificed to petty politics and power plays. How much the country suffered because of this setback is incalculable.

This is not the first Normalisation Committee the country has seen – both 1989 and 1994 saw similar problems, and unless Pakistan purges its sporting circles of political vultures it won’t be the last. It is concerning to see the same two power groups that caused this crisis positioning themselves to be elected to power positions once again. The suspects are well known at this point and the government should ensure that they be kept away from the process in the future.

It is telling that none of the culprits of this crisis were professional footballers; they are all opportunists with no attachment to the sport.