By Sports Reporter
WORLD football governing body FIFA has ordered the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to reinstate the suspended ZIFA board by January 3 or the country will face a ban from international football including participation in next month’s upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board was suspended on November 16 by the SRC on a litany of charges, which include gross incompetence, failure to account for public funds and sexual abuse of female referees.
The SRC went on to appoint a restructuring committee on Friday.
In a bid to have the decision reversed, the suspended ZIFA officials then appealed the decision with both FIFA and the Administrative Court.
In a letter addressed to the ZIFA chief executive Joseph Mamutse, who is also suspended by the SRC, FIFA’s Chief Member Association Officer Kenny Jean-Marie on Tuesday finally provided some relief for the beleaguered ZIFA officials.
FIFA said the SRC had failed to provide any proof for the allegations which led to the suspension.
“In this context, we consider that the aforementioned decisions by the SRC to suspend all members of the ZIFA executive committee based on mere allegations without proof of a final and binding ruling, and subsequently to appoint a “restructuring committee” in lieu of the ZIFA executive committee would appear to be clearly contrary to the above statutory principles,” Jean-Marie said.
“As a consequence, should such decisions be considered by FIFA to constitute undue third-party interference in the internal affairs of ZIFA, the appropriate sanctions may have to be imposed on ZIFA by the competent FIFA body. In such a case, all of Zimbabwean football would suffer the consequences, especially on the eve of the AFCON 2021. In addition, we would like to highlight that it is up to FIFA alone – on the basis of serious and well-founded information as well as under exceptional circumstances – to remove executive bodies of member associations and appoint normalisation committees (cf. art. 8 par. 2 of FIFA Statutes).”
FIFA asked for all suspended officials to get their jobs back by January 3 for the issue to be resolved amicably – or risk a potential ban from world football.
“Therefore, we kindly ask you to inform the SRC that in the event its decisions to suspend the ZIFA executive committee members and to appoint a “restructuring committee” instead are not reversed before 3 January 2022 at the latest, we would have no other choice but to submit the present matter to the Bureau of FIFA Council for consideration and decision,” FIFA said.
The world football governing body pledged to further investigate the allegations raised by SRC through its judicial bodies.
“Without prejudice to the above, we would like to highlight that FIFA is committed to investigating the aforesaid allegations brought forward by the SRC as soon as the latter has shared with our independent judicial bodies (firstname.lastname@example.org) all relevant documentation brought before ordinary courts in Zimbabwe and for which we understand no decision has been taken by these courts to date.”