FIFA WARNS ZAMBIA…dispose-off court cases against FAZ or face sanctions

FOOTBALL world governing body, FIFA, has given authorities in Zambia a10-day ultimatum to dispose-off court cases against FAZ or face sanctions.

And FIFA has expressed concern that the Drug Enforcement Commission decided to seize FAZ computers in their investigations of general secretary Adrian Kashala when the matter under investigation allegedly happened before he assumed his current position at Football House.

FIFA has warned against ordinary external courts making decisions against the FAZ executive and has twice warned of sanctions if the meddling in FAZ affairs by external forces continues.

Non-members Damiano Mutale and Patson Lusaka have obtained an injunction to stop the FAZ elections, a move which FIFA has refused to recognise but is still active in courts and is now in the Constitution Court of Zambia.

In a letter addressed to FAZ president Andrew Kamanga dated 30th June 2020, FIFA chief member associations officer Veron Mosengo-Omba reminded the Zambian authorities that both FIFA and FAZ constitutions allowed FAZ to operate independently.

He further expressed concern that actions against FAZ still remain active in the Zambian courts of law.

FIFA hailed FAZ for remaining open to the DEC investigations on Kashala.

“We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 15 June 2020, by means of which you reported further information on several ongoing issues surrounding FAZ. In particular, we took note of the search warrant served by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) on FAZ and of the alleged investigations initiated against Mr Adrian Kashala, FAZ General Secretary. As you are duly aware, FIFA shows a zero tolerance to drugs both on and off the football pitch. We, therefore, support the stated efforts by FAZ to remain available to the relevant authorities in this regard and we ask you to keep us updated with the ongoing investigations,” the letter read in part.

“Additionally, and even though we were informed recently of the restitution of the relevant items, we are concerned about the seizure of FAZ computers during the relevant investigation on a matter which relates to Mr Kashala before he assumed the position of General Secretary. Further to our letter dated 13 March 2020, we wish to remind you that FAZ has an obligation to operate independently against third party interference, as per article 14 par 1 lit i) of the FIFA statutes. Moreover, we must emphasise that article 63 of the FAZ constitution prohibits disputes from being taken to ordinary courts of law.”

FIFA has warned that if matters in courts are not resolved within 10 days, the matter shall be referred to the relevant authorities for action.

The matter in the Constitutional Court comes up on 9th July 2020 by which time the ultimatum would have lapsed which may result in an international ban.

“We note with concern that, to date, proceedings against FAZ still remain active before Zambian courts of law. This situation thus being in total breach of both the FAZ and FIFA statutes (article 59 paragraph 2). It is worth mentioning at this stage that any decisions of any court in Zambia shall be deemed third party interference and would result in FAZ being sanctioned accordingly. In this context, should the situation not be normalised within the next 10 days, we would be compelled to submit the present affair to the competent FIFA body for further action. We also wish to specify that FIFA is actively reviewing the written complaint submitted by the Minister of Sports against FAZ. FIFA asks that this matter be addressed further via a meeting to be held via video or teleconference between FIFA, FAZ and all football stakeholders. The FIFA administration will be in touch with you on this matter to arrange the meeting on a platform that suits all parties. Additionally, rest assured that the specific complaints raised in your letter have been forwarded to the relevant departments within FIFA and we will revert to you in due course. In conclusion, we wish to emphasise the importance of FAZ being compliant with the FIFA Statutes at all times in order to avoid the imposition of sanctions, thereby making a challenging situation for football in Zambia given the COVID-19 pandemic even more so. We thank you for taking note of the above and for sharing the aforementioned information with the relevant individuals and/or entities. We remain at your disposal in case of required assistance,” read the letter in full.

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