By SPORTS REPORTER
FORMER Football Association of Zambia president Kalusha Bwalya has been banned from football activities for two years by world soccer governing body Fifa for alleged corruption charges.
Bwalya however expressed shock and denied any wrong doing noting that he was surprised and saddened by the rulling from Fifa.
Bwalya’s ban follows a Fifa investigation into his links to banned Qatari official Mohammed Bin Hammam.
Fifa’s Ethics Committee said Bwalya, a Confederation of African Football (Caf) executive committee member, was banned for two years from “all football-related activities at both national and international level”.
Fifa said in a statement that it had been investigating the 54-year-old since February 2017 “focused principally on benefits that Bwalya had received from Bin Hammam”.
“The adjudicatory chamber found Bwalya guilty of having violated article 16 (confidentiality) and article 20 of the Fifa code of ethics which prohibits offering and accepting gifts and other benefits.
“A fine in the amount of 100,000 Swiss francs ($100,600, £78,900) was also imposed on Mr Bwalya,” the Fifa statement added.
Bin Hammam was banned for life from football by Fifa in 2011 for his part in a cash-for-votes scandal.
Speaking in a statement received by Daily Nation Sports, Bwalya said that he has never done anything to bring the beautiful game into disrepute.
He said he will fight tooth and nail for justice to clear his tarnished name.
“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 would like to state that I am not guilty of any offence, which allegedly took place,” Bwalya said
In 2014 the Former FAZ boss, Bwalya admitted pocketing a sum of money allegedly given to him by the former FIFA vice president Qatar’s Mohammed Bin Hammam but claimed it was a debt amounting to US$50, 000 and not the US$80, 000 shown in email exchanges between the two parties.
Bwalya explained that the money was borrowed to help FAZ run its activities at the time it was embroiled in wrangles with the government of Mr. Rupiah Banda.
Bwalya was voted African Player of the Year in 1988 by Caf and later went on to be coach of the Zambia national team before he became president of the local soccer governing body FAZ.