FIFA bans African official Kalusha Bwalya over payments from Qatari

Former President of Zambia's Football Association of Zambia Kalusha Bwalya. (Francois Mori/AP)

ZURICH — FIFA has banned African official Kalusha Bwalya for two years over a payment from disgraced former Asian soccer leader Mohammed bin Hammam.

An investigation found Bin Hammam paid Bwalya $50,000 in 2009 and $30,000 in 2011 as the Qatari sought to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency. Bin Hammam pulled out of the 2011 contest when vote-buying allegations emerged.

The FIFA ethics committee has now found Bwalya guilty of breaching the ethics code for accepting gifts and violating confidentiality rules while he was president of the Zambian soccer federation. As well as a two-year ban, the 1988 African player of the year has been fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($100,000).

Bwalya was re-elected in March 2017 to the Confederation of African Football’s executive committee but pulled out of the vote for a place on the FIFA Council. At the time, Bwalya cited the need to focus on his role in Africa, but FIFA had opened an investigation into Bwalya the previous month.

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