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Fifa demand Mamutse reinstatement

by Staff reporter
23 Jan 2021 at 06:25hrs | Views
WORLD football governing body Fifa have demanded the reinstatement of Zifa general-secretary Joseph Mamutse, who was suspended by the Sports Recreation Commission (SRC).

Fifa observed that the grounds on which the decision was taken, lacked any objectivity and impartiality.

SRC in November last year suspended Mamutse and its directorgeneral Prince Mupazviriho to pave way for investigations into how a number of national football teams were cleared for foreign trips.

Mamutse is also blamed for the disqualification of the national Under-17 men's team from last year's Under-17 Cosafa tournament over age-cheating allegations.

SRC invoked section 30 of their Act when coming up with the suspensions.

Fifa have, however, poked holes in the Act and want the Gerald Mlotshwa-led board to overturn their decision on Mamutse.

They argue that the Act is vague and open to abuse.

In a letter addressed to Mamutse, the world football governing body warned the SRC not to interfere in the affairs of Zifa,

They said member associations are obliged to run their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties.

"We refer to your recent correspondence in relation to your apparent suspension as general-secretary of Zifa from all forms of football administration by SRC, on the basis of the Sports and Recreation Commission Act (the Act)," Fifa's chief member associations officer Véron Mosengo-Omba wrote on December 30.

"In this respect, and as a preliminary remark, we note that the decision in question does not seem to have followed the correct procedure as provided for in section 30 (1) of the Act, as Zifa was not even afforded an opportunity to be heard."

"In addition, and more importantly, we are of the opinion that the ground on which the relevant decision was taken, appears to have lacked any clear objectivity and impartiality. More precisely, we would like to express our concern that let. c) of section 30 (1) of the Act grants the SRC an extremely wide margin of interpretation in that it may decide, among other things, to suspend any officer of a registered national association in case it considers that the entity in question "conducted itself in a manner which is contrary to the national interest".

"We take the view that such wording may very well lead to decisions taken arbitrarily as the Act does not seem to define which particular actions might be deemed to go against ‘the national interest'. In view of this, we take the view that the decision of the SRC to suspend you as general-secretary of Zifa should be either invalidated or overturned."

Fifa said the move by the SRC to suspend Mamutse constitutes interference by the government in the running of Zifa affairs which could lead to a possible suspension of the
country from international football. SRC is a government body that regulates local sports, although there is denial of government involvement on their part.

Fifa do not tolerate government or third party interference in the administration of soccer and have previously handed punishments, including bans and suspensions to perpetrators.

A Fifa suspension would mean national teams and local clubs would be banned from playing in international competitions, and funding from the organisation would cease until redress.

Fifa reminded the SRC that it does not tolerate third party interference.

"In this context, we would like to remind you that according to article 14par.1i)andart.19par.1ofthe Fifa statutes, member associations of Fifa, including Zifa, are obliged to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties. Any breach of such obligation might lead to sanctions as provided for in the Fifa statutes, which may also include the suspension of the member association. In addition, any violations of art. 14 par. 1 i) of the Fifa statutes may also lead to sanctions, even if the third-party influence was not the fault of the member association concerned (cf. art. 14 par. 3 of the Fifa statutes)."

Fifa said they were ready to help the SRC to amend their constitution.

The sports regulator last year admitted that their constitution is outdated and needed amendments.

"Finally, we remain available to discuss with the relevant government authorities in Zimbabwe possible amendments to the Act to ensure that future decisions taken on the basis of such piece of legislation are based on objective and balanced criteria. We, therefore, kindly invite you to liaise with SRC to inquire whether a meeting could be organised in the coming months to exchange on the matter."

Zifa has since forwarded the Fifa letter to the SRC.

SRC have made it clear that they are prepared to face consequences that may accrue from their actions.

This is not the first time that SRC has run into trouble with Fifa.

They were in 2019 cautioned by the world football governing body after they tried to remove the current Zifa executive board and replace it with a normalisation committee.

They also tried the same with the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board in the same year, but were again left with an egg in the face when the International Cricket Council told Mlotshwa to keep his hands off the running of cricket.

He was told to reinstate the board that he had suspended or the country face permanent exile from international competitions.

Zifa is accusing Mlotshwa of trying to muscle out the current football association executive and replace it with a normalisation committee made up of his friends and business associates

Source - newsday