FIFA threatens Zambia with sanctions

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Jeff Kapembwa

Lusaka - Zambia must resolve the wrangles raging in its football administration within the coming week or risk FIFA sanctions, soccer’s mother body has warned.

In a letter to Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga, dated June 30, 2020, FIFA said the fact that some local stakeholders were using the courts to delay elective processes was of deep concern.

FIFA association officer Veron Masengo Omba said if the matters were not resolved within 10 days of receipt of the letter, then sanctions would be considered.

The global football governing body frowns upon stakeholders taking soccer administration matters to municipal courts, preferring to deal with matters in-house.

Compounding the woes was a raid by the Drug Enforcement Commission that culminated in the seizure of computers from secretary-general Adrian Kashala’s office.

DEC spokesperson Theresa Katongo said, “The Drug Enforcement Commission through the Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit on 11th June, 2020 conducted an operation at the Football Association of Zambia as part of ongoing investigations involving Mr Adrian Kashala.

“Mr Kashala is being investigated for obtaining pecuniary advantage and money laundering. As part of investigations, the commission seized a laptop and central processing unit to help with investigations.”

The equipment has since been returned and investigations are ongoing.

On the court matters of immediate interest to FIFA, 1998 African Footballer of the Year Kalusha Bwalya and other stakeholders blocked the FAZ electoral process saying it was not being done in good faith.

Gilbert Phiri, a lawyer representing some of the aggrieved, this week said it was practically impossible for FAZ to meet FIFA’s 10-day ultimatum and that an independent arbitrator needed to be called in.

“It is incredibly baffling that FIFA is asking a party that is embroiled in litigation to resolve issues of its own creation,” Phiri said.

“It seems impractical that a party that has gasoline in its hands and is itself at the heart of fanning flames of discord and division in football is being asked to resolve the issues whose resolution requires a fair and impartial arbiter with no interest in the issue at stake.

FAZ president Kamanga, on the other hand, called for cool heads to prevail so that FIFA sanctions could be avoided.

“We have 10 days to normalise and be compliant. In the last three and a half months we have been in breach of FIFA statutes by having these matters in court.

If we don’t have this case out of court in the next 10 days we are going to be sanctioned so hopefully we won’t get past the 10 days and normalise then we can have elections.”

He continued: “We have rules that govern football; we (have) just been reminded that if not normalised we shall get (a) FIFA ban.  Unfortunately if that happens it’s everyone that’s going to suffer …”

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