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FIFA lifts ban on Zimbabwe, appoints ‘normalisation committee’ for a year

One year and four months after slapping Zimbabwe with a ban for third party interference, the global football governing body, FIFA, has lifted its suspension of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).

This comes after the Sports and Recreation Commission was forced to lift its own suspension of the Felton Kamambo ZIFA executive, which led to the ban. That executive however cannot resume control of ZIFA because their term of office had expired anyway.

FIFA announced in a statement dated 10 July 2023 written by the organisation’s Secretary General Fatma Samoura from their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

“The Bureau of the Council decided on 10 July 2023 to lift the suspension on ZIFA with immediate effect,” wrote FIFA.

A normalisation committee set to run the day-to-day affairs at ZIFA at the moment until another election to elect the next ZIFA leaders is held, has been appointed.

It is led by the former Dynamos chairman and player Lincoln Mutasa.

Also part of the interim committee are ex-Highlanders defender Sikhumbuzo Ndebele, former Mighty Warriors skipper and coach Rosemary Mugadza, and a legal practitioner Nyasha Sanyamandwe.

The normalisation committee which was appointed pursuant to article 8 paragraph 2 of the FIFA Statutes shall perform the the following duties:

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“Run the daily affairs of ZIFA. Restructure the ZIFA administration. Establish, with the help of FIFA, a collaboration agreement between the Ministry of Sport/the SRC and ZIFA, which will define the responsibilities and objectives of each party, including (but not exclusively) on the topic of sexual harassment.

“To review the ZIFA Statutes and Electoral Code to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements, and to ensure their adoption by the ZIFA Congress.

“To act as an electoral committee in order to organise and conduct elections of a new ZIFA Board based on the newly aligned ZIFA Statutes and Electoral Code. To ensure a proper financial handover to the new ZIFA Board,” FIFA revealed.

Added the world football governing body: “The normalisation committee will consist of a suitable number of members, who will be appointed by FIFA and CAF. The composition of the normalisation committee will be disclosed separately.

“While the aforementioned persons will assume their duties with immediate effect, all members of the normalisation committee must pass an eligibility check to be carried out by the FIFA Review Committee in accordance with the FIFA Governance Regulations.

“Their confirmation will be contingent upon the outcome of the eligibility check. Furthermore, the FIFA administration, in consultation with CAF, reserves the right to dismiss any of the members of the normalisation committee and/or to appoint further members at any time.

“As the normalisation committee will also act as an electoral committee whose decisions will be taken at first and last instance, none of its members will be eligible for the positions to be filled during the elections under any circumstances, including in the event that their mandate as a member of the normalisation committee has been revoked or that they resign from their position. The specific period of time during which the normalisation committee shall perform its functions shall expire as soon as it has fulfilled all of its duties as mentioned above, but by 30 June 2024 at the latest.

“During the term of the normalisation committee, FIFA Forward funds will be paid in monthly instalments and upon receipt of a budget, monthly reporting and other supporting documents such as bank statements. Funds will only be released for planned projects approved prior to the appointment of the normalisation committee. Exceptions may be granted with FIFA’s prior agreement. In addition, a forensic audit of ZIFA’s accounts will be carried out as soon as possible and upon restitution of the relevant documentation by the local authorities and individuals that have been in control of ZIFA thus far.

“Finally, the lifting of the suspension imposed on ZIFA and the appointment of a normalisation committee shall take place without prejudice to the ongoing investigations and court proceedings at national level,” ends the FIFA statement.

It comes as sweet music to the ears of Zimbabwe’s passionate football followers who have been eager to see the country’s readmission in the FIFA family since the suspension of the Felton Kamambo led executive for various allegations that included sexual abuse of referees and mismanagement of funds.