THIRTEEN players and officials have been banned for life from football and 80 others have been suspended after being found guilty of match fixing, the Zimbabwe Football Association said Tuesday.
No names were released, but ZIFA confirmed that eight players had been exonerated by a committee led by retired High Court judge Ahmed Ibrahim which investigated allegations national team players and officials took cash payments from Asian betting syndicates between 2007 and 2009 to lose matches.
In a statement after he handed over his findings to the ZIFA board, Justice Ibrahim said: “My committee has just completed a task which it embarked on about 11 months ago. It has been a tortuous, stressful period in our lives and we have been operating with virtually no resources.
“We have been maligned and some of our members have been libelled and received virtually no co-operation in securing documentation to effectively carry out our task.”
Justice Ibrahim said his committee – which had already cleared 40 players before Tuesday – had recommended life bans on 13 individuals, believed to include Henrietta Rushwaya, the former ZIFA CEO fingered in a previous internal investigation as the local lynchpin of the corruption.
Seven individuals will be banned from football for 10 years; 37 were handed five-year bans; 25 players and officials will be banned for two years; two received suspended two-year bans; six will be sidelined for a year and one player is to receive a six month ban.
FIFA has said it will work with ZIFA to effect the sanctions globally – meaning the affected players and officials would be banned from football activities worldwide.
"Today will go down as a sad, depressing day in the annals of history of the game in Zimbabwe," said Justice Ibrahim.
He said what the investigation has revealed "may well only be the proverbial tip of the iceberg".
ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube also believes that there is more work to be done.
"We will not step down until we clean up football," he said. "There is match-fixing in the premier league and in Division One, and we are not pleased with the standard of our referees.”