By Kennedy Gondwe
BBC Sport, Lusaka
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya has been indefinitely suspended from all sports activities by the country’s Sports Council.
The decision leaves Zambia at risk of an international ban by the game’s world governing body, Fifa, which does not allow government interference in the running of the game.
Bwalya was suspended by the government body for refusing to appear before the council’s disciplinary committee to answer charges relating to the transfer of a minor to Israeli side Maccabi Tel-Aviv last year.
Controversy around the sale of striker Emmanuel Mayuka to Tel-Aviv started last year after his Zambian club Kabwe Warriors accused Faz of issuing an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) without their consent.
Warriors’ complaint prompted the government to direct the sports council to launch an investigation into the matter.
The 50-day investigation, which included a public hearing, exposed a number of irregularities and was also a matter of debate in Zambia’s parliament.
The 90-page report into the transfer alleged that Bwalya and his vice Emmanuel Munaile influenced the issuance of the ITC.
But Bwalya on Monday refused to appear before the council’s disciplinary committee saying his association had reported the matter to Fifa for adjudication.
“We wanted him to answer to the issues that have been raised against him,” council chairperson Dr Julius Sakala told BBC Sport.
“The sports council takes great exception to his reference of the matter to Fifa because we operate under an act of parliament.
“He should understand that under the Zambian law, we are empowered to take action against erring affiliates and office bearers.”
Dr. Sakala who is one of the country’s most prominent lawyers, defended the Sports Council against possible Fifa sanctions.
“We are not in any way interfering with Faz but taking action against an office bearer.”
“Everything we have done is under the republican constitution under which we exist.”
Bwalya’s suspension has led to the indefinite postponement of the Faz annual general meeting slated for Saturday.
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