The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday dismissed Beach Soccer Association (BSA) immediate-past leadership’s application for an injunction to restrain Football Association of Malawi (FAM) from conducting elections for the association.
The BSA immediate-past leadership, led by its ex-chairperson Kondwani Gondwe, applied for an exparte injunction to block the elections, but Judge Ruth Chinangwa dismissed the application and advised the applicants to follow arbitration procedures provided in FAM constitution, noting that it was premature to seek a court relief on the matter.
She dismissed the application with costs, effectively upholding the elections which ushered in a new executive committee with Gift Chimbalanga’s leadership as the new chairperson.
FAM ordered BSA to hold fresh elections after the association’s affiliates complained to the mother body. But the former ex-co took the matter to court, arguing that they were duly elected in 2018.
Commenting on the case’s outcome, private practice lawyer David Kanyenda, who earlier warned that Malawi risked Fifa’s wrath for using ordinary courts to settle a football dispute, called for disciplinary action against those that took the matter to court.
He said: “FAM and Fifa statutes prohibit recourse to ordinary civil courts in respect of football related disputes. We expect that upon full conclusion of the proceedings, FAM shall take appropriate disciplinary sanctions against the individuals who initiated litigation. Such stern course of action shall serve as a deterrent to others and guarantee scrupulous compliance with statutes.”
However, Kanyenda also advised FAM to improve its dispute resolution system.
“Be that as it may, FAM ought to reflect on the efficacy of its disputes settlement system in order to reduce incidence of disputes or to provide an effective internal platform for resolution once disputes occur.”
In an interview yesterday, Chimbalanga said it was sad that the issue was taken to court when it could have been settled within the football family.
“I was vice-chairperson in the outgoing ex-co. I tried to reason with my fellow ex-co members on the need to settle this issue within ourselves. But they did not listen to me,” he said.
Chimbalanga said now that the court’s ruling upholds the FAM sanctioned elections held in Mangochi two weeks ago, his ex-co will now work on restoring the association’s image.
He said: “An association that has a bad image cannot attract partners or sponsors. Our target is to work towards restoring the beach soccer’s battered image”.