Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
AFRICA and Zambian football legend Kalusha Bwalya has been handed a two-year ban from all football related activities at both national and international level by Fifa’s Independent Ethics Committee.
The revered former Chipolopolo skipper and coach, as well as former president of the Football Association of Zambia, was found guilty of having violated Article 16 and 20 of the Fifa Code of Ethics after he allegedly received a gift from former Asian Football Association president Mohammed Bin Hamman who is also serving a life ban imposed by Fifa.
“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 28 February 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 Article 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 yesterday.
Article 16 reads; “Depending on their function, information of a confidential nature divulged to persons bound by this Code while performing their duties shall be treated as confidential or secret by them, if the information is given with the understanding or communication of confidentiality and is consistent with Fifa principles. The obligation to respect confidentiality survives the termination of any relationship which makes a person subject to this Code.
Violation of this article shall be sanctioned with an appropriate fine of at least CHF 10,000 as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a maximum of two years.”
Article 20 says;
“Persons bound by this Code may only offer or accept gifts or other benefits to and from persons within or outside Fifa, or in conjunction with intermediaries or related parties as defined in this Code, where such gifts or benefits
(a) have symbolic or trivial value;
(b) are not offered or accepted as a way of influencing persons bound by this Code to execute or omit an act that is related to their official activities or falls within their discretion;
(c) are not offered or accepted in contravention of the duties of persons bound by this Code;
(d) do not create any undue pecuniary or other advantage; and
(e) do not create a conflict of interest.
Any gifts or other benefits not meeting all of these criteria are prohibited.If in doubt, gifts or other benefits shall not be accepted, given, offered, promised, received, requested or solicited. In all cases, persons bound by this Code shall not accept, give, offer, promise, receive, request or solicit from anyone within or outside Fifa, or in conjunction with intermediaries or related parties as defined in this Code, cash in any amount or form. If declining the gift or benefit would offend the giver on the grounds of cultural norms, persons bound by this Code may accept the gift or benefit on behalf of their respective organisation and shall report it and hand it over, where applicable, immediately thereafter to the competent body.
3. Violation of this article shall be sanctioned with an appropriate fine of at least CHF 10,000 as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a maximum of two years. Any amount unduly received shall be included in the calculation of the fine. In addition to the fine, the gift or benefit unduly received should be returned, if applicable. In serious cases and/or in the case of repetition, a ban on taking part in any football-related activity may be pronounced for a maximum of five years”.
Bin Hammam was banned for life from football by Fifa in 2011 for his part in a cash-for-votes scandal in the race for the Fifa presidency. The Qatari however, has denied any wrongdoing.
Bwalya (54) was voted the African Footballer of the Year in 1988.
He 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 former Chipolopolo captain 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.
Bwalya did not respond to questions sent to him yesterday soon after the announcement of his ban.