Banda’s isolation violates Fifa Disciplinary Code TIME STANDING STILL . . . ZIFA vice-president, Gift Banda, has been kept on the sidelines of domestic football administration, despite his suspension being quashed by the disciplinary committee, in a clear violation of the FIFA Disciplinary Code

Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
THE decision to keep ZIFA vice-president, Gift Banda, out of the domestic football’s leadership for the past one-and-half months is in gross violation as one of the key pillars of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

This is the substantive law meant to keep order in world football.

It stipulates that an appeal lodged against a disciplinary committee cannot suspend the order provided by that ruling.

This is why the Premier Soccer League barred Herentals from attending their indaba, even though the Harare club had appealed against the disciplinary committee decision, to find them guilty in a match-fixing case.

The Students eventually won their case.

That was also the reason why the ZIFA appeal, against the FIFA disciplinary committee’s decision to throw out the Warriors from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, did not suspend the order and the team wasn’t included in the draw for the qualifiers. ZIFA might also be violating the provisions of its very constitution which, in Article 54 (2), makes it clear that their judicial bodies have to comply with the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

“The responsibilities and functions of these (judicial) bodies (the Disciplinary Committee, the Appeals Committee, the Ethics Committee) shall be stipulated in the Disciplinary Code of ZIFA, which shall comply with the FIFA Disciplinary Code, and the Code of Ethics of ZIFA,’’ reads the ZIFA Constitution.

While the association were within their rights to appeal, their decision to keep Banda out of the executive committee, after their disciplinary committee handed him a lifeline, violates the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

And, crucially, it’s also a violation of the provisions in their constitution which clearly spell out they will always comply the FIFA Disciplinary Code. Banda has been on the sidelines, unable to perform his role as ZIFA vice-president, after the association lodged an appeal against the decision by their disciplinary committee.

The Bulawayo businessman was suspended by his fellow board members, for allegedly bringing football into disrepute, in January last year. This followed his decision to change the composition of the Warriors’ coaching staff, without the mandate and consultation of his colleagues, on the ZIFA executive.

The suspension was handed down, pending his appearance before the ZIFA disciplinary committee, a process which eventually took about 14 months to be completed.

On March 5 this year, the suspension was quashed by the disciplinary committee and Banda was reinstated to his post as the association’s vice-president.

However, the ZIFA board, said there had been some glaring omissions and immediately lodged an appeal with their Appeals Board.

There has been confusion related to Banda’s status with some, including ZIFA officials, claiming the appeal lodged by the association quashed the decision passed by their disciplinary committee.

However, The Herald can reveal today that appeal doesn’t have “a suspensive effect’’ on the decision passed by the disciplinary committee to bring Banda back into the executive committee.

Until a different order is passed by the Appeals Board, as and when it eventually sits, Banda will have to execute his duties as the ZIFA vice-president.

Article 124 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, which deals with effects of appeal, stipulates clearly that:

1) An appeal results in the case being reviewed by the Appeal Committee.

  1. The appeal does not have a suspensive effect except with regard to orders to pay a sum of money.

This was explained in detail by the experts at LawInSport, a leading online international sports law publication providing expert commentary and analysis on developments in world sport, when the Uruguay Football Federation appealed against the decision to ban Luis Suarez for biting Italian defender, Georgio Chiellini, during a World Cup match.

“Specifically, Article 124(2) of the FDC (FIFA Disciplinary Code) sets out that ‘the appeal does not have suspensive effect except with regard to orders to pay a sum of money,’ therefore, if Suarez/Uruguay appeal the decision, the ban cannot be suspended at this initial appeal stage,’’ the experts argued. When Al Wedha Club, one of the top clubs in Saudi Arabia, took their federation to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2011, pleading to have a fine imposed on them by federation overturned, the apex judicial body, noted that ‘’the appeal shall not have a suspensive effect.’’

It dismissed the case.

This case also shows that the FIFA Disciplinary Code provisions come into effect in domestic cases.

The following are subject to the FIFA Code:

  1. a) Associations;
  2. b) Members of associations, in particular the clubs;
  3. c) Officials;
  4. d) Players;
  5. e) Match officials;
  6. f) Intermediaries;
  7. g) Licensed match agents;
  8. h) Anyone elected or assigned by FIFA to exercise a function, in particular with regard to a match, competition or other event organised by FIFA.

“This Code applies to all disciplinary offences committed following the date on which it comes into force, this Code also applies to all disciplinary offences committed prior to the date on which it comes into force, subject to any milder sanction that would apply under previous rules.’’

However, there are isolated cases where the FIFA Appeals Committee chairman can suspend the sanctions, imposed by a disciplinary committee, while the case is being held.

This was the case in April 2014 when the then chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee, Larry Mussenden, lifted the ban imposed on Barcelona, from acquiring new players, while their appeal was being heard.

He said he took into consideration the sanctions imposed against the club, the complexity of the matter, the start date of the next registration period — July 1 2014 — and the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee does not seem in a position to take a decision on the main issue early enough so that an eventual appeal of the club, against its decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, would still be decided before the beginning of the next registration period. “Consequently, the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect.’’

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