We are disappointed by the unfortunate allegations and comments attributed to TP Mazembe president Moses Katumbi concerning the three Zambian players whom his club blocked from attending an important international match last week.
We’ve always enjoyed good relations with TP Mazembe which out of their own volition have decided to abrogate. TP Mazembe and Mr. Katumbi should engage in serious introspection and check the conduct of its officials before accusing FAZ of issues which are completely out of its jurisdiction.
Mr Katumbi’s comments over the players and their present plight clearly shows how uninformed he is over the processes and procedures of the association, matters of Zambian law and how we engage with different clubs and our nationals plying their trade in different parts of the world.
It is not in our interest and desire to exchange words with the club over a matter in which they acted unprofessionally and at variance with the rules of the game. The public may not be privy to some overtures from Mazembe who last week pleaded with the Association for review of the matter before FIFA and requested pardon; this we have not made known as well as other undertakings out of the mutual understanding we have previously enjoyed.
For the information of Mr Katumbi and Mazembe, what is presently happening to the three players is of concern to us as they face serious allegations before the Immigration Department; a situation caused by the actions of the club and its representatives. However, matters that impinge on the laws of the land are not under the jurisdiction of the Football Association of Zambia but subject to the Zambian constitution and implemented by various agencies of the state. We have no jurisdiction over the Immigration Department whatsoever and what they do is beyond us.
Further, Faz is not in charge of controlling national borders, enforcing national security and immigration law. These are governed by relevant Acts of Parliament and enforced by authorities who as stated above are not subject to Faz or Fifa’s laws of the game.
Faz has no mandate to withdraw any player’s passport. We have never withdrawn any players’ passport or subjected any players to undue pressure or coerced them into actions that abrogate the law of the land or the laws of the game.
The withdrawal of the three Mazembe players’ passports was done by the Immigration Department who are acting under the established laws of the Republic of Zambia to which every Zambian is subject. This Department does not report to Faz. Mazembe is free to report the Immigration authorities to Fifa if they so wish.
We sincerely hope they will not mislead the players into illegal court actions and petitions that would only jeopardize their careers.
From our end, this matter ended when we forwarded to Fifa our concern over Mazembe’s conduct and Fifa acted accordingly. We observed the football protocols and are satisfied with Fifa’s position and now we await the outcome of the matter which has been taken before the Fifa Disciplinary Committee for further consideration.