SAFA takes up CAF decision to Court of ArbitrationThomas Kwenaite
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has hinted that they will lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne after the Confederation of African Football Association (CAF) had rejected their Appeal against the Disciplinary Committee decision imposed following their withdrawal from the FUTSAL tournament.
South Africa fell foul to CAF when they pulled out of the FUTSAL tournament during January after they were instructed by the South African government to withdraw in protest against the decision of CAF to stage the tournament in Laayoune which is illegally occupied by Morocco in defiance of a decision of the United Nations.
Mauritius was called up to substitute South Africa but after playing a single match at the finals, were also instructed by their own government to withdraw in solidarity with the Sahrawi and both countries were fined US$75000 by CAF and suspended from two future FUTSAL tournaments.
However, SAFA launched an appeal and in addition, complained that the DC committee that judged their case was unconstitutional as it was not the original Committee elected at the CAF Executive Committee in Niger two years previously which was supposed to be made up of Osman Yassin (Djibouti), Youssouf Ali Djae (Comoros) and Issa Sama (Burkina Faso).
Instead, contended South Africa, they were judged by a Committee made up of Abdulhakim Mustapha (Nigeria), Thaddeus Sory (Ghana), Andy Quamie (Liberia) and additional members present were Mrs Achta Saleh and Ms Sarah El Adawy, a committee they claim had never been endorsed by any CAF gathering.
“The Appeal Board members agreed following the appellant’s’ argument that SAFA’s decision regarding the withdrawal of their national team from the African Cup of Nations FUTSAL 2020 was purely political as it is arising out of solidarity to a political agenda,” ruled CAF in their judgement on Monday.
“The Appeal Board also noted that the determination of a force majeure in the case of article 74 of the African Cup of Nations FUTSAL does not fall under their competence, as it had to be determined by the Organizing Committee who never pronounced said force majeure.
“The Appeal Board decided that the appeal lodged by the South Africa Football Association is admissible. The appeal lacked merit for the above-mentioned reasons and therefore all requests of relief are dismissed.”
SAFA Legal Advisor Poobie Govindasamy, who maintained that the Disciplinary Board that judged their case had no competence nor should have been given the authority to render a decision regarding SAFA’s withdrawal from the FUTSAL 2020, said on Monday night that they will take the matter up with CAS as provided by the Statutes.
“We will go through the decision with the SAFA Executive Committee,” said Goovindasamy, hinting that they will also consult the SA government as well as the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) to request their opinion as we did nothing but follow their guidance in this Western Sahara issue.”
According to the judgement, they have 30-days to file their appeal with CAF in Switzerland.