FIFA hopeful Sheikh Salman gifted Shamlan to PFF
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.