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AFRICA

Fifa bans former African footballer of the Year Kalusha Bwalya for two years

Fifa bans former African footballer of the Year Kalusha Bwalya for two years

Arnd Wiegmann

REUTERS

Bwalya has been accused of receiving bribes from Qatari tycoon and former AFC chief Mohammed bin Hamman.

Fifa has banned former African Footballer of the Year Kalusha Bwalya for two years from all football-related activity at both national and international level.

The former Zambia national team captain, coach and FA head has been accused of accepting illegal payments from former Asian Football Confederation (Afc) chief Mohammed bin Hamman.

Bribe scandal

In 2011, Hamman, who’s also a Qatari business mogul, intended to challenge Sepp Blatter for Fifa presidency as his country solicitated votes in the bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

In 2012, he was banned for all football-related activity due to conflicts of interest in his role as AFC chief.

Bwalya was among several FA officials caught in the storm of Hamman’s bribery allegations.

An investigation by Fifa found the Zambian guilty of violating the ethics code by accepting bribes totaling $80,000 from Hamman in 2009 and 2011 for the Football Association of Zambia (Faz) and personal expenditure.

"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,’ Fifa said in a brief statement.

"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 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 was also imposed on Mr Bwalya."

Bwalya’s reputation tarnished

The 54-year-old, often regarded as Zambia’s greatest player, was named African Footballer of the Year in 1988. He featured for the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Cercle Brugge and several clubs in Mexico.

From 1983 to 2004, Bwalya accumulated 87 caps with Zambia. He managed the national side between 2003 and 2006 and was named President of Faz in 2008, a spell that lasted until 2016, when he was defeated by Andrew Kamanga in elections.

In 2008, he was appointed onto Caf’s executive committee.

Bwalya becomes the second Caf executive member to fall inside two months.

Back in June, former Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi resigned from the posts he held with Fifa and Caf after being pictured accepting a $65,000 bribe by an undercover reporter.

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