THE Pakistan Football Federation has banned its former secretary general, Hafiz Salman Butt, for 10 years on charges of embezzlement, mis-conduct and bringing disrepute to the country. The decision was taken by the federation's general council and was announced by the president, Mian Mohammad Azhar, after a meeting attended by 19 of the 21 members. It is alleged Butt misappropriated five million rupees (about US$168,000) from the federation. The Nation newspaper in Lahore reported that Butt hit back by describing the meeting in Karachi as ''an illegal gathering of opportunists'' because there was no representative from world governing body FIFA or from the regional governing body, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), in attendance. After a series of disputes within the federation, the AFC recommended an international ban on Pakistan when two different Pakistani teams arrived in the United Arab Emirates for an Asian Youth under-19 Championship qualifying tournament in July. One of the teams was led by the federation president, Mian Azhar, the other by Butt. Organisers decided the president's team was Pakistan's official representative and Butt's side was sent home. FIFA general secretary Joseph ''Sepp'' Blatter stepped in by suspending Pakistan indefinitely from international football, saying the position would be reviewed after six months. Soon after the FIFA directive, an AFC executive committee meeting on August 13 gave the Pakistani officials one month to sort out their problems, otherwise both parties would be summoned to AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The federation has responded with a 10-year ban on Butt, despite the fact that a probe committee had recommended a lifetime ban on the former official.