I can exclusively confirm that CAS today gave Kalusha a further two weeks to raise the funds and pay the K210,000 by May 30th, 2020. So, as the original deadline for payment of the second installment of the deposit on costs comes to an end at midnight today, Kalusha Bwalya will not be paying the CHF 11,000 that the Football Association of Zambia was supposed to pay but didn’t pay pursuant to Article R64.2 of the Code of Sports-related Arbitration and as directed by the CAS Finance Director Mr. Miguel ABELAIRAS. However, this does not automatically mean that the whole case is now deemed withdrawn and that Kalusha Bwalya cannot be declared eligible to stand for elections at FAZ this year due to the decision of the FAZ Ethics Committee and the FAZ Appeals Committee being deemed valid.
Further to the first revelation above, I can also reveal to you that the yesterday’s rehearsal for the Oral Hearing originally set for 19th of May did not take place as scheduled at 10:00hrs (Swiss Time) when Kalusha and his Spanish lawyers did not pitch up while the FAZ team of FAZ lawyer Hastings Pasi, FAZ Veep Rix Mweemba, FAZ GS Adrian Kashala, and lawyer Sokwani Chilembo was ready. The oral hearing is now set for June 2020 since Kalusha Bwalya’s appeal included a request for an in-person hearing which can only be held after the deposits are paid in full.
Lastly, CAS has for the third time rejected kalusha’s request to have the case suspended indefinitely to allow other processes such as the court cases going on in Zambia and the planned meeting between FIFA and Zambian football stakeholders to proceed first and try and resolve various issues existing within football including the issues Kalu raised at CAS.
I wish to remind the readers that it is standard practice that fees are paid before the case takes off. On the costs, usually, the CAS divides the costs between the appellants and respondents equally. When an appellant doesn’t pay his share, the case is dismissed. If the appellant pays his cost (like Kalusha did) but the respondent doesn’t (like FAZ didn’t), the case goes ahead. However, if the respondent’s share remains unpaid (like is the case with FAZ), the final award is not made and the case is deemed withdrawn. It is common, therefore, that appellants usually pay both deposits for themselves and for the respondent to ensure the case is not withdrawn since they are the ones with more to lose.
It is also worth reminding the reader that, so far, Kalusha has paid K20,000 court fees and K200,000 deposits. With this other deposit he has been told to pay by May 30th, his total costs will be K420,000 before his lawyers have been compensated for their time and skills. According to court documents, they have set the lawyers’ fees at CHF30,000. This means that this appeal will cost Kalusha a minimum of K803,395.48. I have not factored in his costs for the initial appeal at FAZ Appeals Committee and his lawyers’ time for correspondence to FIFA and NSCZ and even the Minister.
I think that it is in Kalusha Bwalya’s best interests not to pay the fees and deposits of costs at CAS and let the case die a natural death i.e. deemed to be withdrawn. I am of the view that losing the case and getting a judgment that is against him will damage his reputation and his future prospects irreparably and irrefutably: for good.
Since the day that I started writing, I have always insisted that the best way for Kalusha to go, and indeed for Kamanga, Damiano, Blackwell Siwale, and others, is to reconcile and find ways to work together. Of course, supporters on both sides are never happy with reconciliations as they have to lose benefits that may accrue if they ‘hack the system’ and dominate the Zambian football space. I know that FAZ appointed Kalusha as the Brand Ambassador for Kopa. If he feels that that role is not good enough he can find other ways to work with the football fraternity and at least his name will remain clean. It’s not a good idea for Kalusha to risk a judgment against him which makes him ineligible for elections as this can almost make him eligible forever unless this judgment comes with a timeline. However, there is no room for a timeline in the current depositions at CAS meaning the length of that ineligibility will be the preserve of FAZ judicial bodies.
So on this one, the national icon The Great Kalu has to save his name. He has withdrawn before like in 2017 a few hours before FIFA announced the rests of his Integrity Test he withdrew. That was a good move because, officially, it means he has never lost an Integrity test at FIFA albeit many believed he was bound to lose that test and be barred from elections.
The moment the judgment is made against him, it will no longer be a FAZ or Lusaka issue. This will become international news which will make big newspapers and TV stations start digging into his past corruption cases with FIFA etc and make screaming and screeching headlines. His enemies will dig into his flesh and those who have opponents in his shoes will use this case as a reference point. It will also be case law at CAS.
I know Kalusha to be a stubborn man (which is good in some cases and also bad in others) and somewhat difficult to talk to. But on this one, he has to learn to listen to advice and counsel. Those close to him have to be men enough and make him see this sense. This case is bigger than him. The same way he has lost football matches in his life is the same way he will lose some cases in court. We, humans, are fallible beings and we are not perfect. Kalusha is not perfect. Kamanga is not perfect. Shalala is not perfect. You the reader are not perfect. There is no need to be sadists and wish Kalusha to lose everything so we rub it into his face or celebrate. Let us keep his stardust and charm going and not soil his legacy. We can’t afford a tattered legacy like that of Ben Johnson, Mike Tyson, and others.
The solution is to this whole debacle is for those against Kamanga and the current FAZ to find a way of working with the current set up and also to make Kamanga and the current FAZ set-up be as user-friendly as possible.
This is not a time for egos on either side.
The CAS case is Kalusha Bwalya’s only chance to be on the ballot if The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland gives him relief and reverses the FAZ actions barring the national icon The Great Kalu to stand in the 2020 elections. We shall know by 31st May 2020 if Kalusha will decide to and manages to pay the fees and whether the case goes on.
The oral hearing, if Kalusha decides to and manages to pay his fees within two weeks, will now be held in June. The Court of Arbitration will go ahead and decide Kalusha’s fate as to whether he is eligible to stand for FAZ presidential elections without taking into consideration the cases in the Zambian courts. It means that most likely there will be a final award from CAS before the cases before the courts in Zambia can be concluded. I maintain my earlier prediction that there shall be a final award and closure of this case at CAS by 15th June 2020.