UPDATED: Sports Commission Defends Decision To Suspend “Incompetent” ZIFA Board

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By Sports Reporter

THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has cited the ZIFA board’s “gross incompetence, mismanagement and lack of accountability in the use of public funds” as the major reason for their decision to suspend the board.

Zimbabwe risks a ban from football’s world governing body FIFA after the suspended the entire executive board of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) Tuesday.

FIFA disapproves of government interference in the running of a member association, and in the past, it has banned countries from all forms of football for disregarding its directive.

However, the SRC said it took the decision “following several incidences of gross incompetence on the part of ZIFA, such conduct and/or omissions being contrary to the national interest.”

“The Sports and Recreation Commission (“SRC”) hereby informs the public that upon extensive consultations and further deliberations on matters relating to the governance and management of football in Zimbabwe, the SRC board has with immediate effect suspended the ZIFA board in accordance with the Sports and Recreation Act,” the SRC said in a statement.

“This decision has been considered following several incidences of gross incompetence on the part of ZIFA, such conduct and/or omissions being contrary to the national interest, as provided for in terms of Section 30 (i) (c) of the SRC Act.”

The Gerald Mlotshwa-led commission cited seven instances of ZIFA failures, including failing to account for public funds provided during the last Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2019; sending teams outside the country without Covid-19 clearances from the SRC.

The local football mother body is also accused of alleged sexual harassment of female referees; failure to treat the women’s team equal to the men’s side; lack of development for junior football and a “looming constitutional crisis within ZIFA viz-a-vi pending elections.”

The decision by the SRC to suspend the Zifa board was announced the same day the leaders of the two organisation’s leaders were expected to meet for a crucial indaba two days after the Zimbabwe men’s national team; the Warriors completed their disastrous 2022 World Cup campaign.

ZIFA is led by veteran football administrator Felton Kamambo who has been blamed for the Warriors’ recent run of poor results.

However, the SRC’s decision to suspend the ZIFA board is set to attract severe sanctions from FIFA, which does not tolerate government interference in football matters.

A Fifa ban would result in the Warriors being barred from participating in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament to be held in Cameroon early next year.