FAM appeals committee has overturned a ruling by the association’s disciplinary committee which ruled that FAM had no mandate to order Beach Soccer Association (BSA) fresh elections.
The decision means the BSA executive committee (ex-co) led by Gift Chimbalanga, is legitimate and can resume its functions almost a year after the elections.
FAM ex-co appealed the disciplinary committee ruling in a case where BSA ex-co challenged the legitimacy of a newly-elected committee after FAM ordered fresh elections.
In December 2020, FAM disciplinary committee ruled that FAM was wrong to direct that BSA hold fresh elections.
But FAM ex-co appealed protesting the decision arguing that the disciplinary committee had overstepped its jurisdiction.
The appeals committee comprising chairperson James Masumbu, vice-chairperson Arthur Nathuru, members Felix Tambulasi, Paula Caetano and Louis Ulaya heard the case on March 6 2021.
The appeals commitee’s ruling, which we have seen, faults the disciplinary committee for exceeding its mandate of resolving the disciplinary issues placed before it by proceeding to make pronouncements on matters concerning the validity of elections conducted at the direction of FAM.
Chimbalanga welcomed the ruling, saying his committee will now get down to work.
“We have been in contact with our centres in Mangochi, Karonga, Chintheche, Salima and Nkhotakota that teams should start registering their players in readiness for a restart.”
“We have a strategic plan in place and we shall physically meet to include elements that have been lost out due to the delay in commencement.”
BSA is also the only FAM affiliate yet to access Covid-19 relief funds and Chimbalanga said they have already started working on claiming the funds from FAM.
But the former ex-co’s lawyer Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda said the trial was not fair.
He said: “There was no fair trial at all. The appeal was before a tribunal that was not impartial at all. There were no sufficient guarantees to prevent biases by the appeals committee which was after all, selected by the FAM ex co and served by the people that argued the case before the disciplinary committee.
“In the end, justice was perverted. It’s a sad day for beach soccer justice. The committee’s finding that Beach Soccer Association elections were governed by FAM electoral code was a grave error in that FAM electoral code does not apply to elections of FAM affiliates which are by FAM’s own statutes supposed to operate independently of FAM.”
Nyirenda said they will take the matter to Court of Sports Arbitration, but Chimbalanga called for reconciliation among the beach soccer family.
“We appeal to everyone involved in this game of beach soccer to forget the differences and move forward. It is the game of beach soccer which has won. We hold no grudge against anyone and we shall be approaching the old committee to learn several things,” he said.