By Scoop Reporter
KITWE Mayor Christopher Kang’ombe has denied claims of abuse of authority of office over the change of Kitwe United football club into a private entity, saying this was done purely to meet the FIFA requirement for club licensing and not for personal aggrandisement.
Kang’ombe yesterday explained that Kitwe United initially existed as a social club in Buchi – Kamitondo Township from the early days when the likes of Godfrey Chitalu played at Buchi Stadium up until the year 2018 when the team won promotion back to the Super League, 11 years later.
He explains that in 2003, FIFA introduced Club Licensing for all Super Division Clubs whose aim was to make clubs operate professionally with the right to sue and be sued.
He explains that the new FIFA Club Licensing Compliance criteria demanded that all football clubs in the Super Division and Division 1 should compete as registered organisations separate from the sponsors.
“The adoption timeline for all FAZ affiliated Club for Licensing was by September 2018 failure to which unregistered Clubs would face sanctions including removal from participation in the FAZ League.
“In 2018 when the Social club won promotion back to the Super league, FAZ gave condition that Kitwe United, as a club, be registered as a separate entity in compliance with FIFA Club licensing rules in full without exception or face sanctions as detailed in the compliance criteria,” Kang’ombe said.
He explains that for this reason alone, four non-beneficial shareholders representing Kitwe City Council were recommended by management of the local authority in registering Kitwe United football club as a separate company in October 2018, almost three weeks after the deadline.
He says the four non-beneficial shareholders representing Kitwe City Council included the club patron representing office of Mayor, three council workers representing the executive committee of the social club.
“The four non- beneficial shareholders who included myself as club patron (Mayor), eventually surrendered the shares we previously had in Kitwe United football club limited this year.
“In short, the process of registering a separate entity called Kitwe United FC Limited was to enable the social club compete in the Zambia Super League under new FIFA / FAZ rules,” he said.
Kang’ombe has come under heavy scrutiny after a fallout with the ruling party leadership which most people believe the contention is over his intention to stand as parliamentary candidate in 2021.
This has allegedly not sat well with some incumbent MPs who are worried that he could emerge as favourite to replace any of them as he is more popular among party members and the electorates.