The South African Football Association (SAFA) through its CEO Gay Mokoena certainly threw the cat among pigeons on Saturday when they claimed that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Disciplinary Committee that charged them for withdrawing from the FUTSAL tournament was illegitimate and not properly constituted.
In their documents lodged with CAF appealing the decision to fine them US$75 000 and suspension from participation in two future FUTSAL tournaments, South Africa demands that the decision to fine them be set aside and to be reinstated in future tournaments with immediate effect.
South African received double sanctions after withdrawing from the 2020 FUTSAL AFCON staged in the disputed area of Western Sahara in solidarity with the Saharawi who are seeking independence from their territory which is occupied by Morocco.
In seeking relief, South Africa certainly dropped a bombshell when they claimed in their appeal documents that the panel that passed on judgement against them was unconstitutional and as a consequence, the punishment must be set aside.
“In addition,” argues South Africa, “we further seek confirmation from CAF that the fine of US$75 000 imposed on the country must be considered null and void and of no force and effect,” reads a part of the SAFA appeal.
“The Appellant requests that the appeal lodged must be decided by a panel of three board members appointed by the CAF executive committee including the President or Vice President stipulated in terms of Article 15 of the CAF Disciplinary Committee.”
It is South Africa’s contention that it is legally impossible for the CAF Disciplinary Board to have had a disciplinary hearing in the disputed territory of Laayoune, Western Sahara/Morocco without any charges being framed and served on the Appellant.
In a startling revelation, South Africa claim that the committee that was officially appointed by CAF to administer FUTSAL was constituted during October 2017 for the 2017/19 cycle and re-constituted for the 2019/21 cycle on 21st November 2019 at the CAF Executive committee in Cairo.
But shockingly, the committee that surprisingly passed judgement on South Africa and Mauritius was NOT the legitimate and official committee that was appointed by CAF for this very function.
In their appeal, South Africa further reveals that in a clear violation of their own statutes, CAF unconstitutionally allowed Osman Yassin (Djibouti), Youssof Ali Djae (Comoros) and Issa Sama (Burkina Faso) to sit as a DC committee that passed the contentious judgement at a meeting held in Niger on January 30.
“The Appellant therefore contends that the CAF DC at its meeting held in Niger to pass judgement on the case was not properly constituted and its composition is accordingly irregular and invalid.
“Additionally, the resolution appointing the CAF board by the First Respondent (CAF) is unknown to the Appellant. We therefore seek to be reinstated into forthcoming or any future FUTSAL Africa Cup of Nations with immediate effect and the fine of US$75 000 be declared null and void.”
Finally, South Africa seeks an urgent hearing on the matter by a CAF legally constituted Appeal Board at a convenient date and time. They also request to be represented at the said appeal hearing.