OPEN LETTER TO FIFA PRESIDENT INFANTINO

Dear Gianni Infantino

It has come to my attention that FIFA recently handed former Zambian FA President Kalusha Bwalya a two year banning order for allegedly violating the FIFA Code of Ethics by accepting what they claim were illegal payments totalling US$80 000 from disgraced former Asian Football Confederation boss Bin Hammam.

The sentence was like a bolt from the blue. And I remember reasoning that if a legendary former African Footballer of the Year with the stature of Bwalya could be hammered like that, then surely we should certainly expect a complete cleanup in our game.

Sadly there has been not just a complete silence since then, but a kind of conspiracy one could describe as akin to Animal Farm, where other animals are considered more powerful than others or, was Kalusha a scapegoat and a fall guy in the greater scheme of things?

I ask this question because I believe the current President of the Confederation of African Football – Ahmad Ahmad – also received US$10 000 from the generous Bin Hammam as did 30 other African FA Presidents during his failed campaign to unseat Sepp Blatter.

Why impose selective justice?

African FA Presidents serving on the FIFA executive committee at the time – Cameroon, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire – were allegedly paid US$400 000 each while US$50 000 was said to have been paid to the Namibian Football Association to assist with “Second Division leagues structures that had been affected by financial challenges”.

The Swaziland Football Association allegedly requested a $30 000 payment from Bin Hammam and it was paid while Seedy Kinteh, President of the Gambia Football Association, was allegedly paid $10 000 including an additional $50 000 for a brand new car paid through bin Hammam’s daughter’s account.

The Qatari strongman also paid Manuel Dende, the Sao Tome and Principe FA boss US$50 000, after the latter had initially requested US$232 000. Izetta Wesley, the former Liberian Football Association leader, was paid US$10 000.

The Somali Football Federation was allegedly paid US$100 000 through Bin Hammam daughter’s account, CECAFA were paid US$200 000 three days after the World Cup bids had been decided to fund the 2010 CECAFA Cup tournament.

And so the list goes on about African FA Presidents that handsomely benefitted from the benevolence of the infamous Bin Hammam, yet the question remains as to why only Bwalya has become the ONLY individual that has been prosecuted?

If Bwalya has been punished for his alleged indiscretion and inability to account for how he spent the US$80 000 he received from Bin Hammam, then why has Ahmad Ahmad and the others who have been unable to satisfactory explain how they spent the loot they received from the Qatari, escape sanctions?

By so saying, and by implication I’m not in any way condoning what Bwalya did, if he has indeed accepted US$80 000 which they claim was illegal and contravened certain rules contained in the FIFA Ethics, and they thus found him guilty of financial malfeasance, then he certainly deserves to be punished.

My concern however, is how do we believe in Ahmad and indeed accept his crusade to rid football of corruption in this new era, when serious question marks hang over his acceptance of questionable money allegedly coming from a slush fund created to bribe people to vote for Bin Hammam?

Or perhaps I’m jumping the gun too soon and FIFA is indeed investigating all these other individuals that have been generously paid from the Bin Hammam slush fund? In that case, I hope to be updated about whether investigations are ongoing in the cases of these other individuals.

Sincerely

Thomas Kwenaite

42 COMMENTS

  1. Tk you are a brother ‘s keeper. God will surely bless you!!! I was also wondering why fifa operate in this manner? Maybe he is a threat to the pesidence of caf or the people in caf are blind to reason as you did TK.

  2. Good thinking TK. No one should be above the law. Let the law axe each and every body who received some dollars from Hammam

    • It is my contention Richard, that in any democracy, no one is above the law but in this instance, so many people are alleged to have received brown envelopes and yet only Kalu gets punished, it just doesnt sit well with me

  3. Your analysis is very good and the questions more importantly are on point. The powers that be must come out and state why they are not prisecuting or is it persecuting the others.

    • Yes Peter, the questions have bothered me for some time and I have been made aware through my own sources, that my letter has been put on INfantino’s desk for comment, lets wait and see if he will respond

  4. I think he’s been used as a scapegoat at the expense of other FA bosses. Most African football bosses received Bin Hamam’s brown envelopes. FIFA should stop the selective justice period.

  5. A presentation doesn’t get better than this TK – very thought provoking, intelligently put forward, let’s have other intellect levels counter this, that is if they’ll be any. We await answers. Keep the fire burning TK your voice is solid – it’s got lots of concrete in it. As for great Kalu – TK is getting stuff amplified keep at ease let’s check the outcome.

  6. I support you TK and only hope all those who have been saying bad things about Great Kalu can read this and then reconsider their judgment.

  7. I thought I was the only one asking, ‘what happened to the FA presidents that received “help” ‘?
    As long as Ahmad received “financial help”, I will NEVER acknowledge his veiled efforts of Transparency and etc of running the game.
    Unless Kalusha Bwalya’s ban is rescinded, or everyone that received “help” from the Qatari tycoon are dealt with, I strongly believe African football was on the rise, till the rich guys in Europe handpicked Ahmad to bring the African game down.

    • Derrick, until all the people that received “financial assistance” from the Qatari are treated equally, then Infantino must explain why is there selective justice. Or are some people more equal than others? By the way, I have been reliably informed that he read my letter, but to this day I am awaiting his response. Perhaps it is time I sent him a reminder

  8. Inspiring letter Mr T.K I think there is a group of shenanigans at caf who are targeting those who were in good books with the former FIFA and CAF Presidents .And this selective persecution is sponsored by the present caf catel.

  9. Thanks TK for the candid analysis which raises many questions on how FIFA handled this matter…..the struggle continues but victory shall be ours. Great Kalu shall be vindicated in the end.

  10. Journalism at its extreme best, TK you are truly an African legend. The lengths you have gone in this letter is nothing short of courage and bravery for the sake of justice. You have stepped on grounds that most journalists today wouldn’t dare to step. If only journalists would have the boldness for justice like you do. #Justice4Kalu

  11. We have other people in our country who also wanted Kalu fixed and these are the one who un fairely forced FIFA to do this shameless act. These people also wanted to run soccer. Look at the FAZ election wrangles we used to have, who cannot fail to suspect?

    • I’m sure Musonda, you are aware that as outsiders there is pretty little that we can do but Zambians themselves will be able to solve their problems and the football issue does not need outside interference but Zambians themselves

  12. Over a period of time, I have followed you Mr TK, I wander why are you not standing as SAFA President, the present leadership of SAFA is giving us unwanted stress, the FIFA must take Africa in confidence and fo the right thing.

    • I am greatly humbled to hear people telling me they follow me and believe me, it puts an enormous amount of responsibility on my shoulders to always think of those people like yourself, and to always live up to expectations and I hope and trust I have not disappointed, however, if I do, always feel free to kick me back into lane, I’m after all human and prone to errors!

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