FIFA hope­ful Sheikh Sal­man gifted Sham­lan to PFF

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

The front-run­ner in Fri­day's FIFA's pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Sheikh Sal­man Bin Ebrahim Al Khal­ifa gave the Pak­istan Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion (PFF) a coach on a gratis ba­sis a month be­fore a cru­cial elec­tion, me­dia can ex­clu­sively re­veal. That coach was Sheikh Sal­man's Bahraini com­pa­triot Mo­ham­mad Sham­lan Mubarak Basheer Al Sham­lan. The hir­ing of Sham­lan, though, was un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally abrupt. It came less than 24 hours af­ter the PFF had sacked Serb Zav­isa Milosavl­je­vic af­ter Pak­istan lost a friendly to neigh­bours Afghanistan 3-0 on Au­gust 21, 2013.

It seemed a knee-jerk re­ac­tion at that time - only that his ap­point­ment as Pak­istan coach was con­firmed days be­fore and yet de­nied by the PFF it­self. But Sham­lan's ap­point­ment was seem­ingly part of a big­ger plan, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­men­ta­tion seen by Dawn in this joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion with Daily Mail.

"Sheikh Sal­man Bin Ebrahim Al Khal­ifa Ex Pres­i­dent of Bahrain, has been elected new Pres­i­dent of AFC (sic)," PFF's now em­bat­tled pres­i­dent Faisal Saleh Hayat said at the 2013 PFF Congress, ac­cord­ing to the min­utes of the meet­ing. "Be­ing a friend of mine he has, on my per­sonal re­quest, pro­vided the ser­vices of their top na­tional coach (Mr. Sham­lan) to PFF as Head Coach of Pak­istan na­tional team for pe­riod of two years on gratis ba­sis (sic).

"By avail­ing free ser­vices of Bahrainian coach for two years, PFF shall be sav­ing an amount­ing of al­most Ru­pees 3 crore [$300,000] which can be used for var­i­ous other foot­ball de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties (sic)."

The min­utes of the 2013 PFF Congress, held on Sept 21 that year, were ap­proved at next year's meet­ing in Is­lam­abad on Nov 19 - at which Sheikh Sal­man him­self was present.

On the day Sham­lan was un­veiled as Pak­istan coach - Aug 22, 2013, PFF sec­re­tary Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said: "Since Bahrain is a friendly coun­try and PFF has good re­la­tions with Bahrain's fed­er­a­tion, we have been given their coach free of cost." Mo­ham­mad Sham­lan Mubarak Basheer Al Sham­lan. -Photo by White Star

Sheikh Sal­man was the pres­i­dent of the Bahrain Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (BFA) from 20022013, leav­ing shortly af­ter be­ing elected the AFC chief with a land­slide vic­tory at its Ex­tra­or­di­nary Congress on May 2.

The 50-year-old Sheikh Sal­man is a se­nior mem­ber of Bahrain's royal fam­ily and sub­se­quent doc­u­ments show Sham­lan com­ing to Pak­istan with the bless­ing of the Gulf state's govern­ment.

His con­tract let­ter, a copy of which it avail­able with Dawn and Daily Mail, is on the let­ter­head of not the BFA but the King­dom of Bahrain.

Sham­lan came on a salary of US$10,000 per month - $20,000 more per an­num than Milosavl­je­vic and on an av­er­age, al­most half of the $250,000 PFF re­ceived from FIFA from its Fi­nan­cial As­sis­tance Pro­gramme.

"Govern­ment of Bahrain and Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Bahrain has de­tailed/ap­pointed Mr Mo­hammed Sham­lan Mubarak Basheer Al Sham­lan as Pak­istan Na­tional Foot­ball Team Coach for a du­ra­tion of two years on gratis ba­sis (sic)," Lodhi wrote to Pak­istan's am­bas­sador in Bahrain in or­der to ob­tain a mul­ti­ple visa for Sham­lan on Oc­to­ber 19, 2013.

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