ZURICH (AP) — Kalusha Bwalya, executive member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), is to appeal his two-year FIFA ban.
Soccer's ruling body handed out the suspension, and a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs ($100,000), to the 1988 African Footballer of the Year and former Zambian FA president over a payment from disgraced ex-Asian soccer leader Mohammed bin Hammam.
"I have instructed my legal team to immediately appeal this decision ... and would like to state that I am not guilty of any offence which allegedly took place," Bwalya said.
"I have never done, and will never do, anything to bring the beautiful game into disrepute and stand by the facts provided by me to the committee. I, unfortunately, cannot provide any further detail as my legal team has advised that this would jeopardize my chances of obtaining leave to appeal."
FIFA's ethics committee said the 54-year-old Zambian was guilty of accepting gifts and violating confidentiality rules while he was head of the FA.
An investigation found he had received $50,000 in 2009 and $30,000 in 2011 as Qatari bin Hammam sought to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.
Bin Hammam eventually pulled out of the contest when vote-buying allegations emerged.
Bwalya was re-elected in March 2017 to CAF's executive committee but pulled out of the vote for a place on the FIFA Council.
At the time, he cited the need to focus on his role in Africa, but FIFA had opened an investigation into Bwalya the previous month.