Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
BANNED Zambian and African football legend Kalusha Bwalya has denied the charges levelled against him by Fifa and has since started legal processes challenging his ban.
Bwalya was on Friday slapped with a two year ban from all football related activities in and outside his native land after he was found to have accepted a gift from former Asian Football Association president Mohammed Bin Hamman.
“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has banned Kalusha Bwalya, member of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), for two years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
The investigation against Mr Bwalya was opened on February 28, 2017, and focused principally on benefits that Mr Bwalya had received from Mr Bin Hammam.
The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Bwalya guilty of having violated art. 16 (Confidentiality) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the Fifa Code of Ethics. A fine in the amount of CHF 100 000 ($100 573.2) was also imposed on Mr Bwalya.
The decision was notified to Mr Bwalya today, and the ban comes into force immediately,” said Fifa in a statement.
In addition to the ban, the 1988 African Footballer of the Year was also slapped with a further $100 000 fine for the misdeed.
“I the undersigned Kalusha Bwalya, do hereby state that I am surprised and saddened by today’s receipt of the notification from the Fifa Ethics Committee adjudication. I have instructed my legal team to immediately appeal this decision urgently and I would like to state that I am not guilty of any offence which allegedly took place.
“I have never done and will never do anything to bring the beautiful game into disrepute and stand by the facts provided by me to the committee.
“I unfortunately cannot provide any further details as my legal team has advised that this would jeopardise my chances of obtaining leave to appeal. Fifa’s decision is not final and I will fight tooth and nail for justice to clear my name. I thank all my fans for their on going support,” said Bwalya.
Bwalya managed the Zambian national side between 2003 and 2006, and was the president of the Zambian Football Association between 2008 and 2016 when he was defeated by incumbent Andrew Kamanga in the FAZ elections.
The 54-year-old was elected onto CAF’s executive committee in 2008.
Bwalya’s career in Europe began at Cercle Brugge in Belgium. In his first season, he was the club’s top scorer and was twice voted supporters’ player of the year.