SRC unmoved by FIFA ban, remains adamant on ZIFA board suspension
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in Zimbabwe has defiantly challenged world football governing body, FIFA, following its latest decision to ban the country from all international football competitions and vowed the ZIFA board will remain suspended.
This comes after FIFA imposed a ban on Zimbabwe this Thursday owing to government interference in the running of football in the country, a move which is deemed contrary to FIFA statutes.
Then as part of the conditions to lift the suspension, FIFA instructed the SRC to reinstate Felton Kamambo and his board members who were suspended by the government arm in November 2021.
Also as part of the conditions to do away with the ban, FIFA also instructed the reinstatement of the ZIFA chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse who was also suspended by the SRC board in 2020.
Furthermore, they implored the SRC to withdraw court cases that were filed against the aforementioned suspended persons at the Magistrate Court.
The affected are accused of fraud and illegal use of the football associations’ letterhead at a time they were regarded as suspended persons, however they pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
But despite all this, the SRC in a statement issued on Friday morning through its chairman Gerald Mlotshwa (President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son in law) in response to the FIFA demands, defied the football supremo’s orders.
According to the statement, the defiant SRC has remained adamant that it will not reinstate the ZIFA leader Kamambo and his led board whom they described as ‘undoubted sexual predators, fraudsters and corrupt administrators’.
In addition to the statement, the SRC blamed FIFA arguing that the association has intentionally and reluctantly ignored all these alleged charges and have interpreted them as ‘mere allegations’.
“Correspondence from FIFA, dated the 24th instant, addressed to the suspended ZIFA General Secretary purporting to suspend the Country’s national football association as a member of the FIFA ‘family’ is noted.
“In essence, it appears that FIFA is constrained by the provisions of its own statutes to protect certain of the undoubted sexual predators, fraudsters and corrupt administrators at the helm of football administration in Zimbabwe. All this in the name of shielding ZIFA from, to quote FIFA in its letter “… undue interference from a third party,” reads part of the SRC statement.
“It is a fact that some of these administrators are facing, inter alia, charges of sexual harassment, bribery, fraud and general corruption before Zimbabwe’s Courts. FIFA has the full details of these matters.
“It is clear that FIFA has interpreted these very serious charges as ‘mere allegations’, notwithstanding its “…zero tolerance policy towards corruption, sexual abuse and any other unethical conduct,” continued the statement.
“Both FIFA and CAF are fully aware of an insidious culture of sexual harassment perpetrated against female football referees in Zimbabwe.
“For the eighteen months lapsed since these allegations were brought to their respective attention, neither body has initiated any tangible investigation focused on culprits whose names are known to them.
“The instances of fraud and corruption within the corridors of ZIFA have also been brought to the attention of FIFA, who have placed on record their extreme reluctance to involve themselves in remedying this deplorable state of affairs.
“The SRC has a documented and demonstrable “zero tolerance policy towards corruption, sexual abuse and any other unethical conduct” in the administration of sport in Zimbabwe. It does not pay mere lip service to the same.
“We, at the SRC, act decisively within the confines of the laws of Zimbabwe, in particular the Sports & Recreation Commission Act as well as the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.
“FIFA statutes are not a part of the laws of Zimbabwe. Conversely, ZIFA, and indeed all other national sports associations in the country, are subject to the laws of Zimbabwe. It is for this reason that they, and their respective constitutions, are registered with the SRC.
“FIFA recognizes ZIFA as the sole governing body for football administration in Zimbabwe by virtue of its registration with the SRC. It is on this basis that it is admitted as a member of the “FIFA Family” by FIFA.
“The SRC will hold a press conference with the media on Monday, 28th February, 2022, at a time to be advised, in order to render more fully its views on the correspondence from FIFA, and more importantly, to advise Zimbabweans of its road map on football and ZIFA for the duration of 2022 It suffices to quote, for the time being, a perceptive message received from CAF President, Patrice Motsepe: – “…We remain committed to finding a solution that respects the sovereignty and legal issues that you raised and is in accordance with the statutes and regulations of FIFA and CAF.
“Pending any such compromise, the ZIFA Executive Committee and the General Secretary shall remain suspended. The various matters pending before the Courts in Zimbabwe shall continue as shall the criminal proceedings and all other actions focused on restructuring football in our country.
“Domestic football will continue in Zimbabwe. It will be supported fully by the SRC, as has been the demonstrable case thus far. ZIFA will return to the “FIFA Family” when it is in a condition fit to do so,” ended the statement. Nehanda Radio