The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday adjourned inter partes hearing of a case in which the ousted Beach Soccer Association (BSA) leadership applied for an injunction to stop FAM from conducting elections for BSA.
Led by its beleaguered former chairperson Kondwani Gondwe, the beach soccer immediate past leadership applied for an ex partes injunction to block the elections, but instead Judge Ruth Chinangwa called for an inter partes hearing.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) went ahead with the elections last Saturday in Mangochi, which ushered in a new executive committee (ex-co) led by Gift Chimbalanga as the new chairperson.
The fate of the elections is now in the hands of the courts which may decide whether the polls hold or should be nullified when making a ruling on August 5.
FAM has since filed a notice to be given time to prepare its response.
The complainant’s lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa confirmed the development yesterday.
“The matter has been adjourned to 5th August 2020 to allow the defendant file and serve its response,” he said.
FAM ordered BSA to hold fresh elections after the association’s affiliates complained to FAM of it flouting it’s constitution.
But the ousted BSA leadership argues that they were duly elected in 2018.
However, FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the 2018 BSA ex-co meeting decided to extend its mandate, which was illegal.
Fifa and FAM statutes prohibit taking football matters to ordinary court.
Commenting on the case, private practice lawyer David Kanyenda warned that Malawi risk Fifa sanctions for using ordinary courts to settle the dispute.
“Decisions from domestic courts of Malawi may be viewed as third party interference, resulting in imposition of sanctions against FAM. Recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited by FAM and Fifa statutes,” he said.
Kanyenda, however, noted that the rise in disputes could be a sign that there is a defect on the system on how such wrangles should be resolved.
He said: “Without proffering any comments on the merits and demerits of the complaints by outgoing Beach Soccer Association ex-co, matters of this nature ought to be resolved within the dispute settlement bodies of football.
“Otherwise, the rise in incidence of disputes within the football bodies are disconcerting and suggest that there may be a defective system for amicable settlement of disputes.”
However, despite his concerns Kanyenda said FAM was justified to go ahead with the Beach Soccer Association elections since cancelling them could have resulted waste of resources.
“I cannot fault FAM for proceeding with the election. Legally, there was nothing to stand in the way of the elections. Administratively, it’s a waste of expense to call off the elections at the 11th hour and conduct a fresh one.”