Court to decide on Beach soccer polls

The High Court is on July 29 expected to nullify or uphold the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) sanctioned Beach Soccer Association (BSA) elections held yesterday at Nkopola in Mangochi will stand.

BSA yesterday elected new office bearers despite the outgoing executive committee seeking legal action against the elections.

The disgruntled outgoing executive led by immediate past chairperson Kondwani Gondwe, on Friday applied for an injunction stopping the elections.

However, the courts have called for an inter partes hearing on July 29.

Meanwhile, FAM went on with the elections which ushered in new leadership under Gift Chimbalanga.

He defeated Mike Bwanali after amassing 14 votes while his rival got one vote.

Most of the other positions went unopposed as the former executive members led by Gondwe were not on the ballot.

Former Silver Striker and Nyasa Big Bullets defender Panganeni Ndovi was elected vice-chairperson unopposed just like general secretary Wakisa Mwambetania, vice-general secretary Jayne Jella, treasurer Force Ngwira and vice-treasurer Fred Banda.

But Willy Kumilambe was elected organising secretary after defeating Wanangwa Kapapa with 12 votes against three.

Andy Khunga, Samson Malipa and Edwin Mtachi were elected ordinary members.

Asked on his opinion on whether election stand, legal practice lawyer David Kanyenda said in an interview that the court will have to decide.

He said: “Without pre emptying the decision of the court regarding the legality of the electoral process, I would say that as at the time of the elections there existed no court order prohibiting FAM to proceed with the elections.

“But the court will have to examine the facts and the law regarding the case and decide on the legality of the elections.  Broadly speaking, the court may either uphold or nullify the electoral process. The application for injunction is what it is: an application.  The application itself isn’t a court order.”

FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda justified the association’s decision to go on with the elections, saying the courts did not stop them from doing so.

“From my understanding they went to obtain an injunction, but the court has called for inter partes hearing on July 29. Legally, nothing stopped us from holding the elections,” he said.

 Asked what would happen if the court goes ahead and grants the disgruntled outgoing members the injunction on July 29, Gunda said they will take it from there.

“We will cross the bridge when we get there,” he said.

However, the application will likely been thrown out since Fifa does not allow recourse to ordinary courts before exhausting all structures for settling football disputes.

“There are other regulatory issues that arise from the fact of lodging a football dispute in ordinary civil courts,” Kanyenda said.

FAM decided to call for fresh elections which were initially set for Monday, but later rescheduled to yesterday, saying the outgoing executive failed to hold the polls after their mandate expired two years ago.

However, the outgoing executive claims it held the elections that dully extended their mandate in 2018.

Outgoing treasurer Brutus Ndhlovu also said FAM did not inform them of the changes to hold the elections yesterday.

But Gunda said the change had nothing to do with the application for the injunction.

“We felt we should hold the elections on a weekend and not on Monday so that affiliates have a chance to attend,” he said.

BSM has Karonga, Chintheche, Nkhotakota, Southern Region and Central region beach soccer associations as affiliates.

(Reported by Joy Ndovi for The Nation)