President Lungu urges FAZ to resolve football differences

 President Lungu urges FAZ to resolve football differences

President Lungu has said that he is hopeful that football stakeholders will resolve their differences before today’s FIFA deadline, which will see Zambia banned from Football activities.

According to a statement released to the media by his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, Isaac Chipampe, President Lungu, who is FAZ patron, is concerned that football continues to be fraught with wrangles and today directed Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe to chair a meeting called by Youth and Sports Minister, Emmanuel Mulenga between FAZ and Mr Damiano Mutale, who was stopped from contesting FAZ elections.

Mr Mutale has since sued FAZ.

The President has emphasized that Government will not interfere in the administration of football and all he wants is to see to it that Zambia is not punished by FIFA so that Zambians continue to enjoy the game they love.

The meeting held at the Ministry of Sports was attended by FAZ president Andrew Kamanga, FAZ officials and lawyers for Mr Mutale.

Others were Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe, Sports Permanent Secretary Joe Kapembwa and National Sports Council Chairman Patrick Mutimushi and Ministry officials.

After the meeting, Presidential Affairs Minister Mr Sikazwe said the Sports Minister will brief the media today on the outcome of the meeting.

Last week International Football Federation (FIFA) warned Zambia that it will be sanctioned in the next 10 days if they do not resolve their disputes outside ordinary courts.

In a letter dated June 30, 2020, FIFA Head of Member Associations Veron-Musengo Omba said that FIFA would forward the Zambian case to the relevant body for sanctions should the matter not be resolved in 10 days.

Omba said that the Zambia case had dragged on for too long and needed to be resolved.

“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 the FAZ and FIFA Statutes article 59, paragraph 21. 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 normalized within the next 10 days, we would be compelled to submit the present affair to the competent FIFA body for further action” reads the letter in part.

FAZ was due to hold elections but some members among them Damiano Academy proprietor Damiano Mutale who is under a FAZ ban and Patson Lusaka have dragged the local football mother body to court.

Mutale and Lusaka are protesting the FAZ electoral rules that have seen some of their preferred candidates like two-time FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya being knocked out of the race.

Kalusha had taken his case to the International Court of Sports Arbitration but lost his bid to have his candidacy restored.

The Independent Observer

John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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