PtG Article 24.08.2006

Ismail Bhamjee looses all football posts after World Cup ticket affair

Ismail Bhamjee, the FIFA executive member exposed by a newspaper for selling tickets for World Cup matches at three times their nominal value, has now lost all his positions in African and international football.

2006 has been a progressively bad year for Ismail Bhamjee from Botswana. The deroute began in January when he lost re-election to FIFA’s Executive  Committee after political manouvering.

After events in Germany he has now been stripped of his post as honorary president of the Botswana Football Association and he has also resigned from FIFA’s Executive Committee, from the executive of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and as president of  the Council of South Africa Football Associations (COSAFA).

Bhamjee’s departure from African football was set in motion when the general assembly of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) met this month and voted 42 against 40 in favour of removing Bhamjee’s status as honorary president. The 40 thought that it would be enough to reprimand the man that had been president of BFA from 1988 to 2002.

Before the general assembly, the BFA president Phillip Makgalemele advised Bhamjee to retire but he was not keen to do so. However, a few days after the BFA general assembly, Bhamjee decided to step down from his posts in FIFA and CAF, reports Africa News.

Bhamjee’s last post is that of president of the Council of South Africa Football Association. Here he plans to step down by 30 October so the organisation will have time to find another candidate for the presidency.

Ashford Mahelodi , the secretary general of COSAFA, has told Africa News that Bhamjee steps down following medical consultations and other family considerations.

Minister will not comment

Ismail Bhamjee has had a long career in the Olympic movement as well as in African football. He has been awarded the International Olympic Order for outstanding services to the Olympic movement in the Southern part of Africa, and comments on his departure from the football world indicate that the decision was mainly considered necessary in view of the bad publicity created by the exposure of the sale of overpriced tickets.

Botswana’s Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Moeng Pheto who is also responsible for sports asked to be excused from commenting on the Bhamjee affair earlier this month, reports the newspaper Mmegi/The Reporter.

The Minister said that what Bhamjee did was an embarassment to the nation but he did not enjoy castigating him:

“I don’t feel motivated to talk about that issue. Why don’t you just let it die naturally? Commenting about it would seem like we are out to embarrass him. It is like we are fighting against him,” the Minister said.