THE ZIFA ethics committee started its Asiagate hearings in Harare on Monday with up to 100 players and officials expected to be questioned over their involvement in the alleged scandal.
The hearings started behind closed doors at Alexandra Sports Club with officials barred from speaking to the media to avoid compromising witnesses’ testimonies.
“There is a general fear that if the hearings are made public or published in the media this could influence some witnesses or those dragged before the committee to alter their testimonies,” an official close to the probe told state media.
Harare lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri is leading the prosecution team assisted by Advocates Zvikomborero Chadambuka and Deepak Mehta.
Foreign-based players implicated in the scandal are expected to start arriving in the country for the hearings this week.
ZIFA is trying to get to the bottom of allegations that national team officials and players were paid to lose friendly matches in Asia between 2007 and 2009 by agents of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who is in jail in Finland for fixing activities in that country.
Some 80 players and officials who include ex-national team coach, Norman Mapeza have been barred from involvement with the Warriors until they are cleared by ZIFA’s independent ethics committee which is headed by Retired judge Justice Ahmed Ebrahim.
Former ZIFA chief executive, Henrietta Rushwaya has also appeared in court over the scandal.
"Every player who was mentioned in the 'Asiagate' report, regardless of how many matches they played, are suspended and will only be cleared by the ethics committee," ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said in February.
"For now, they are not eligible for selection in any national duty commitments.”
The players however continue to play for their respective club sides.
FIFA, the football’s world governing body, has since demanded tough action against those found guilty.