FIFA sends fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe, as visit ignites hopes of international football return

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By Sports Reporter

WORLD football governing body FIFA is set to send a fact-finding mission to Harare starting on Monday in a move which is set to culminate in the appointment of a normalisation committee to run the affairs of ZIFA and more importantly the lifting of the country’s suspension from international football.

FIFA suspended Zimbabwe from international football in February, last year due to government interference in the administration of local football following the suspension of the Felton Kamambo-board by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), a government-appointed sports regulatory body in Zimbabwe.

Last month the FIFA Congress voted to uphold the suspension of Zimbabwe during its 73rd congress meeting in Kigali, Rwanda after the SRC’s refusal to reinstate Kamambo and other members of his board.

FIFA has previously insisted that only the unconditional reinstatement of the Kamambo-led ZIFA executive board will see the country’s suspension from the international football family being lifted.

The SRC has also maintained that they are no longer in a position to legally reinstate Kamambo since he was recalled by the ZIFA Congress in April last year.

It now appears, FIFA could be softening its stance on Zimbabwe after highly placed sources confirmed in an interview with that the world football governing body had accepted the SRC’s invitation to visit the country for a fact-finding mission starting on Monday.

Although the SRC declined to comment, sources revealed that the Zimbabwe-bound FIFA delegation, includes Zimbabwean national Solomon Mudege, who is FIFA’s Head of Development Programmes Africa, and FIFA’s Regional Development Officer David Fani and FIFA’s Senior Governance Service Manager Sarah Solémalé.

The continental football governing body, CAF is also expected to send representatives for the fact-finding mission.

During the three-day visit, the FIFA delegation is expected to hold crucial meetings with the SRC, football players’ representatives and other key stakeholders.

There are high hopes that after the fact finding mission, FIFA lift the country’s suspension and spearhead the appointment of a normalisation committee to run the affairs of ZIFA in the leadup to transparent and fair elections.

A normalisation committee usually consists of members, who will be appointed jointly by FIFA and CAF, subject to an eligibility check carried out by the FIFA Review Committee in accordance with the FIFA Governance Regulations.

The normalisation committee will serve as an electoral committee and none of its members will be eligible for the positions to be filled during the elections.