By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
FIFA has expressed reservations about Zifa’s rushed decision to “disburse” Covid-19 relief funds to the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League and Division One regions before the world football governing body has released the funds.
Fifa set aside US$1,5 billion that will be distributed to all its 211-member associations, with each getting US$1,5 million and African associations getting an extra US$300 000 from Caf.
In a development that raised suspicion, Zifa rushed to distribute the funds a few days after Fifa announced that its council had unanimously agreed to bailout member associations after all but two federations halted their league matches due to the pandemic.
“Fifa is now particularly interested in knowing where your association got the money from and why they rushed to disburse the funds.
“It was and remains unprocedural and not to mention the fact that it tramples on the dictates of good corporate governance and we now wonder if this is the only example of failure to practice good corporate governance or there is more of such acts which Fifa obviously frowns at,” said a Fifa official.
There have been claims that some Zifa officials are involved in black market activities and therefore funds disbursed could be proceeds from these illegal activities.
Zifa executive committee member in charge of finance Philemon Machana told our sister publication Sunday News that they used part of the US$500 000 Fifa Forward Funds and US$200 000 annual grant from Caf and will replace the money once they receive the Covid-19 relief funds from the world and continental football governing bodies.
The two affiliates were paid in local currency based on the then prevailing interbank rate, meaning Zifa will recoup what they gave affiliates when they receive the Caf and Fifa Covid-19 relief funds.
Funds have already been approved and Fifa have come up with strict guidelines that member associations must adhere to before accessing the funds.
The chairman of the Fifa Covid-19 steering committee Olli Rehn last week told the Finland Football Association at its congress that the financing of the model will be through a very strict first class credit rating system.
“Over the spring and summer, we have been preparing Fifa’s Coronavirus relief plan. Altogether, one and a half billion US dollars will be distributed in order to support the global football society. I took part in the creation of this plan as a member of the governance committee.
“This aid and the aid system resembles the European Union’s aid in the sense that it will be financed through the strong reserves and first class credit rating of the institution,” said Rehn. The Chronicle