IT does not pay to be bribed, FAZ has warned referees.
FAZ ethics committee chairperson Kephas Katongo has also extended the same moral behaviour and ethics standards to soccer players.
Addressing the press on Thursday, Katongo said their behaviour must be palatable with what is expected of a soccer player.
“Administrators alike we also want to see to it that they don’t engage in bribery, especially trying to bribe referees which may be something we have been trying to stop for a long time and with the incoming of the ethics committee, those who engage in such activities shall be dealt with once and for all,” he said.
FIFA on Wednesday banned former FAZ vice-president Boniface Mwamelo for life from all football activities for taking bribes to fix matches.
Kalusha Bwalya was banned for two years, after he allegedly ‘accepted a gift’ which violated FIFA’s code of ethics.
Bwalya successfully appealed his two-year ban from all football activities which FIFA had handed him.
Katongo also said coaches should be above board.
“We do not expect that coaches to be engaged in under-the-table dealings with anybody but should be above board. Let us play, compete and win and not go underground and try to do things that are palatable or which will fall far short of the expected standards, equally even us as members of the soccer fraternity whether we are soccer fans or just supporters, we should begin to behave properly,” he said.
Katongo said there have been occasions where people have been complaining about the unethical behaviour of certain fans who keep hurling insults at stadiums.
“I think this should be a thing of the past. FAZ through the ethics committee will not tolerate that. Football is a family game where you expect to take your children to go and watch soccer. Now if you take your children and then people are insulting and saying things that you can’t even explain to your children then what is the purpose of going for a soccer match? So people sometimes shun football stadiums because of the way some soccer fans behave,” he said. “So we are also calling on them, because the ethics committee has the power to ban such people from a limited period up to a life ban, so that they are not allowed because of their behavior. It shouldn’t come from us. We want this to be spearheaded at club level so that the administrators at club level should begin this effort by ensuring that those troublesome gentlemen should not be there to intimidate the opposing teams or even supporters of the other team. We should behave ethically and hope that the best team wins.”
Katongo also expressed dismay at how long the bribes have allegedly been going on.
“From this report we are reading it started around 2010 and after winning the Africa Cup, it was the same players that were Under 23 players that matured to the senior team so it is the same players you’re dealing with. The same soccer players who were there and are still there,” he noted. “Now once you expose players to unethical standards behaviour of trying to fix matches then ultimately that generation of players will have been spoilt. I hope and pray that this is not what is happening.”
He said Mwamelo has the right to appeal.
“If he appeals, well and good. I hope something will be done but for now as the soccer fraternity, members of football we are obviously very sad that we could end up in this situation because it is a situation we never expected our country which is regarded as a great country by most African countries to end up in. This situation where we are now being looked at as being rotten in the soccer administration side,” he lamented. “We just hope that we can correct this impression and it is also my sincere hope that all those who believe that when they engage themselves in unethical standards, it may just end at them being removed from office, it may not be like that anymore. Some people may even recommend that they face prosecution in the courts of law because certain behaviours when you come here as volunteers to come and serve the nation, there are so many people who are capable of being much better and sit where we sit but you know God gave us that grace and we find ourselves running soccer. We should be very gracious to our Lord and run it in the manner that people expect us to run it.”
Katongo said for those who want to stand, they should accept that they will have to be subjected to an ethics test.
“Next year there will be a lot of electioneering and a lot of campaigns and a lot of people might be tempted to bribe people with footballs, jerseys. That is the thing of the past, it will not be allowed,” he said.
Katongo said FAZ did not want people to be influenced in their decision making by bribes.
He said it is unfortunate that in the last executive, almost everyone was being charged.
“What will people think of us. We want clean business,” said Katongo.
FAZ general secretary Adrian Kashala advised clubs against dealing with banned officials.
Kashala said banned officials had no right to carry on with football business until they are cleared or served their punishment.