By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA and MOSES CHIMFWEMBE –
FORMER Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Simataa Simataa has welcomed the FBI investigations into FIFA financial dealings.
Simataa said investigations have uncovered a veil of Government interference that has shielded football administrators across the world.
Speaking in the wake of the FBI and the Swiss Police investigating FIFA and the subsequent resignation of Sepp Blatter as FIFA President, Simataa said that similarly, various investigations into football dealing should not be considered government interference.
“We hope that these investigations will open up FAZ to investigations and hope that the Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigations into the US$80,000 payments to FAZ would not be seen as government interference,” he said.
But Simataa said the bigger lesson to be learnt from the current happenings was that principles are greater than works because all the great things that Blatter did for football, like building stadia and the rest, would not be remembered like the events of that have unfolded in the past few weeks.
He added that it was most unfortunate that Blatter had to leave FIFA after such allegations when he could have done it ahead of the election and would have won worldwide acclaim.
Football administrator Andrew Kamanga said it was good that the FBI had commenced investigations against FIFA. Kamanga said this was instead an opportunity for FIFA to reform and be more transparent in its dealings.
“My hope now is that the openness and transparent manner FIFA will adopt will filter down to all arms of FIFA like the Football Associations and the likes of FAZ.
The transparency we want to see should come down to FAZ so that we get to know the dealings like the SuperSport deal, match appearance fees for international games Zambia gets invited to as well as gate takings for local games. The only thing we know of local games is that FAZ does not pay the stadium management team,” he said.
FAZ presidential aspirant Henschel Chitembeya said the ongoing corruption probe at in FIFA should be a wake up call to FAZ.
Chitembeya, who is former FAZ executive committee member, said yesterday that FAZ needs a complete clean up in the wake of developments at FIFA.
He warned that what had transpired at FIFA, could spill over to national associations that include FAZ, if administrators do not uphold transparency.
“The investigations into allegations of corruption at FIFA should serve as lesson to FAZ that transparency and accountability in football is important. Charity begins at home and we should also rid ourselves of any suspicions of wrong doing,” Chitembeya said.
He said the only way the current FAZ executive committee can diffuse any suspicions of corruption related activities is by prioritising transparency and accountability in the running of football affairs.
But Sports Deputy Minister Ronald Chitotela is confident that happenings at FIFA will not trickle down to FAZ and that he respects Blatter’s decision to step down as president as it was done in good faith.
Times of Zambia