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ZIFA, Sports Commission war rages on

by Staff reporter
29 Dec 2021 at 05:22hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Sports and Recreation Commission is not stopping at anything in their desperate attempts to perpetuate the chaos that already exists in domestic football.

The stand-off in domestic football took another twist yesterday after the suspended Zifa members yesterday launched a scathing attack on the Sports and Recreation Commission.

The ZIFA board was suspended last month by the local sports regulator in terms of Section 30 (i) (c) of the SRC Act.

Zimbabwean football is currently at the crossroads after FIFA last week came up with a hardline stance in the crisis and wrote to ZIFA threatening to suspend the country from the global football family if the suspension was not reversed by next Monday.

Armed with the contents of the letter, which they have interpreted to their own good, the suspended board members yesterday said they are ready to resume their duties.

"The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) executive committee would like to inform the entire nation and football loving stakeholders that following the FIFA statement of December 21, 2021, the board is ready to continue executing its elected mandate to govern football in Zimbabwe till the lapse of its term of office.

"The ZIFA board believes the FIFA decision did among other things, vindicate the ZIFA Executive Committee of any wrong doing contrary to allegations by the SRC in its several publications and given as reasons for them to suspend the board.

"The board therefore reiterates that as was correctly found by FIFA after its intensive engagements and fact finding with both ZIFA and SRC in the past four weeks," said the statement from the suspended ZIFA board.

However, FIFA did not absolve the suspended ZIFA board from wrongdoing as claimed in the statement yesterday. Actually, FIFA requested for more evidence and encouraged the ZIFA board to open themselves to scrutiny from the local authorities.

The board was suspended for, among other things, their failure to recognise authority and refusal to cooperate on issues of national interest after the Sports Commission was frustrated on investigations into allegations of misuse of public funds during the last AFCON tournament.

The board members are facing a litany of charges that include financial mismanagement and lack of accountability in the use of public funds.

The association has also been accused of sweeping under the carpet serious allegations of sexual harassment of some female referees by some members of the ZIFA Referees Committee.

The Sports Commission also cited failure by the association's leadership to develop football at grassroots/junior level in the country and the imminent constitutional crisis ahead of the upcoming ZIFA elections.

The charge sheet was quite loaded and the Sports Commission believed this warranted a suspension of the current board and the need to cleanse the game for a fresh start.

The suspended board members have claimed that the move was direct persecution on some of their members by the Sports Commission.

They also threw into the fray former ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa's name and called for the government to intervene in the stand-off as the FIFA deadline approaches.

The Warriors could be kicked out of the forthcoming AFCON tournament in Cameroon if the impasse persists.

"The ZIFA board is saddened by the unwavering blood thirsty actions of the SRC to illegally dissipate lawful football structures where they are already angling on punishing ZIFA delegates on the basis of matters that are currently before the courts at the behest of current SRC chairman Gerald Mlotshwa and former ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa.

"That the SRC can ignore court acquittals to these delegates is clear evidence of how desperate they are to destroy football in Zimbabwe. The SRC has wantonly violated, in recent days, their own Act," said the ZIFA statement.

"The ZIFA Board therefore calls for an open inquiry into the conduct, motive, and decisions of this current SRC board which it believes is anti-development and has acted against national interest.

"Its actions are tantamount to deliberate sabotage of the sport, persecution of individuals within ZIFA by some individuals within SRC, confusion creation and a display of ineptitude in the regulation of sport in our country.

"The ZIFA Board therefore sincerely calls on our Government not to be misled by the SRC board and urges them to help the nation evade these potential but unnecessary and avoidable sanctions on our beloved game which are being invited by the SRC. "We call for urgent intervention by (the) Government to stop this SRC sojourn to destruction on premise which under any circumstances cannot be factually, objectively and legally justified."

The suspended ZIFA board has threatened to publish "a detailed document on SRC shenanigans" which will be shared with the senior Government offices, media and the public before the end of the week.

Source - The Herald