Sword Hangs over Bhamjee’s Head

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK Cosafa is awaiting its president, Ismail Bhamjee, to decide what action to take against him following his expulsion from FIFA on Sunday. Bhamjee, a senior FIFA Executive Committee member and a prominent figure in Botswana football, was sent home from the World Cup after admitting selling England tickets for three times their face value. The Secretary General of Cosafa Ashford Mamelodi informed New Era yesterday that Bhamjee had not yet arrived in Botswana from Germany and they were expecting him last night or this morning. “We are waiting for him to tell us what happened in order for Cosafa to take the appropriate steps.” Mamelodi added that Cosafa is still in the dark about the entire issue and only learned through media reports of what had happened and will in the next few days decide what will happen. “I have been bombarded with enquiries from the media but the Cosafa executive has not met yet and thus there is nothing I can say.” Mamelodi, who is expected to visit Namibia on a fact-finding mission on Thursday following the recent turmoil in the Namibia Football Association, noted that the Cosafa executive was originally scheduled to meet in December but they agreed that they must meet on an earlier date because they have pressing issues that need to be discussed. Cosafa’s second in charge Petrus Damaseb could not be reached for comment as he was in Europe. The NFA acting president who is an executive member of Cosafa refused to comment on the matter and said he was shocked by the reports. According to media reports the scandal broke after Bhamjee, a member of FIFA’s executive committee, was caught out in a sting by a British Sunday newspaper. He has been ordered by FIFA to resign from all World Cup-related duties and leave Germany as soon as possible. FIFA president Sepp Blatter said: “I am very disappointed about the conduct of a member of the FIFA Executive Committee. In such a situation, FIFA acts immediately and firmly.” Bhamjee, from Botswana in southern Africa, confirmed in a written statement that he had sold the tickets for England v Trinidad for triple their face value. He may now be kicked off the executive committee altogether as he was due to be replaced in January any way after losing the support of African countries. Bhamjee is understood to have voted for Morocco ahead of Botswana’s neighbours South Africa as the hosts of the 2010 World Cup, and also mounted an unsuccessful campaign to replace Issa Hayatou as president of the African confederation. A long-standing member of FIFA’s executive committee, he started out running a hardware store in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, before becoming a leading light in the country’s football association. From there, he was voted on to FIFA. Bhamjee signed a declaration today saying: “I, Ismail Bhamjee, member of the FIFA executive committee, hereby confirm the fact that I have sold 12 category one tickets of the 2006 FIFA World Cup match England v Trinidad & Tobago, played on 15 June in Nuremberg, for 300 euro (ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚£230) each, i.e. 200 euro (ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚£153) above face value for each ticket. “I deeply regret this incorrect act and apologise to FIFA for violating the relevant terms and conditions governing the sale of tickets for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.” FIFA called a meeting of their emergency committee after being presented with evidence by The Mail on Sunday. The organisation said in a statement: “As an immediate reaction to this behaviour, FIFA’s emergency committee under the chairmanship of president Joseph S. Blatter decided that Mr Bhamjee had to immediately resign from all FIFA World Cup-related duties and leave Germany at the earliest possible moment.”