ZIFA, FIFA FALLOUT . . . Mashingaidze accuses Zurich organisation

Jonathan Mashingaidze

Jonathan Mashingaidze

Hope Chizuzu Sports Correspondent
ZIFA chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, is at the centre of a dramatic fallout with Fifa, after questioning the credibility of the world football governing body, as the domestic game’s leadership buckles under the weight exerted by Asiagate’s sensational collapse. Ironically, the fallout comes at a time when Zifa’s leaders have been parading their “healthy” relationship with the Zurich-based organisation, showcased by Fifa’s funding of the new-look Zifa Village, which was unveiled to the game’s stakeholders on Wednesday.

While Ndumiso Gumede, the Zifa vice-president, told guests who toured the Zifa Village complex that the time had come to end Asiagate’s long-running drama, after Fifa rejected to endorse the sanctions they meted on scores of individuals, Mashingaidze has been fighting a lonely and feisty boardroom battle to try and drag the case on.

The Zifa chief executive has since taken his battle into the Fifa boardroom by questioning the credibility of the world football governing body, in a bold but risky move, which could cripple relations between the two organisations.

Mashingaidze has questioned Fifa’s impartiality in this case, suggesting that the Zurich-based organisation was allegedly taking sides with those accused by the association of being involved in match-fixing, in the wake of the decision not to endorse the sanctions.

He also vented his fury on Fifa for allegedly leaking confidential correspondence, related to the Asiagate case, to The Herald, a charge that the leadership of the world football governing body vehemently denied.

Last week, Mashingaidze wrote to the Chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee, Claudio Sulser, in response to a letter from Zurich advising him that the sanctions would not be endorsed because of a combination of procedural flaws, in the way Zifa handled the case, and lack of evidence to support an endorsement of their sanctions.

Mashingaidze appears unhappy that this newspaper has published material, including Fifa’s landmark decision to reject the endorsement of the sanctions, which he wanted to be kept under wraps even though the position had a bearing on the future of scores of footballers and officials.

“By copy of this letter, Zifa registers its displeasure at the leaking of information pertaining to the Asiagate scandal to members of the media and media houses,” Mashingaidze wrote in his letter.

“The information, which is of a confidential nature, has been published in the media.
“In fact, the recent communication from your office, which should have only been communicated to us as Zifa, was also leaked to The Herald, and in particular, a journalist who was involved in the Asiagate scandal, Hope Chizuzu.

“We find the conduct very unethical as we now do not know on which side are you in this case.”
By accusing Fifa of not only allegedly leaking the correspondence to The Herald but questioning their ethics, in the way they have handled the issue, Mashingaidze clearly put himself on a collision course with the Zurich-based organisation.

Such has been Mashingaidze’s obsession, to keep everything that doesn’t further Zifa’s cause in this case under wraps, he even asked Fifa, in the same correspondence, to “ . . . in future, desist from giving interviews pertaining to the case to any members of the media as such information is private and confidential.”

Fifa, in their response, denied leaking any correspondence, related to this case, to The Herald and reiterated that they only communicated with Zifa, through Mashingaidze’s e-mail addresses.

“We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 4 February 2014, the contents of which has been duly noted. In this regard, we wish to make the following clarifications,” a letter from Fifa, received by Zifa last Friday, read.

“First of all, we would like to state that our previous letter dated January 30, 2014 as well as one dated November 25, 2013, referring to the sanctions imposed by Zimbabwe Football Association on players and officials in relation to match fixing, and Asiagate scandal was communicated to your association by e-mail only to the following addresses; [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> and [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>,” wrote Marco Villiger, the Director of Legal Affairs.

“Secondly, we hereby stress that no one from the Fifa secretariat of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee leaked or disclosed any information on the above mentioned subject to the media, and, in particular, to The Herald publication or to Mr Hope Chizuzu.”

The Herald is in possession of the latest correspondence from Fifa to Zifa, which confirms that Mashingaidze’s spirited efforts to try and cut us from the lines of communication, have failed dismally.

But the Zifa chief executive appears to have a bigger problem to deal with, which could be a product of the lack of diplomacy in the way he has managed his relationship with Fifa, with the world football governing body, once again, rejecting his calls for an emergency meeting to discuss Asiagate.

Mashingaidze has been angling for a meeting with Fifa, preferably this month or just before the start of the domestic season, to discuss the world football governing body’s decision to reject an endorsement of Zifa’s sanctions on scores of individuals which, effectively, brought to an end the long-running case.

Sources have indicated that Zifa want to get guarantees from Fifa that there won’t be a backlash from those whom the association fingered in the scandal, in terms of litigation, and want the world football governing body to provide the insulation against the possibility of such action.

But Fifa, whose hardline stance also appears have stemmed from the frosty relationship that has developed in the wake of Mashingaidze’s lack of diplomacy and, crucially, his decision to question their credibility, have reiterated that they don’t see the value of such a meeting, especially against a background where Zifa have failed to provide fresh evidence to back their case.

“Furthermore, with respect to the meeting requested between your association and Fifa, we kindly remind you that, as mentioned in our previous letter, the Chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee will consider the opportunity to hold such a meeting ONLY upon receipt and evaluation of any new documents and evidence in relation with the request for sanctions to the extended (cf art.137 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code) which would justify the holding of such meeting,” wrote Villiger. Interestingly, two players, Method Mwanjali and Thomas Sweswe, who appealed against their bans and paid US$6 000 each with Zifa in December 2012, haven’t been advised of the decisions of the Appeals Committee which met last year. Reports indicate that the three-man Appeals Committee is holding on to their judgment until Zifa have addressed the issue of payments, which should be made for their services, and this has kept the players in limbo despite the duo having satisfied their part by paying the US$6 000 appeal fees. That people who appealed in December 2012 are yet to get their verdicts also paints a sorry picture of a process that appears to have lost its way.

Sweswe and Mwanjali, though, have remained untouched by the Zifa bans since they ply their trade in South Africa, where they could only have been sanctioned if Fifa had endorsed the bans, but the duo are desperate to have their names cleared.

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  • Significant Watemwa

    Mashingaidze is right, FIFA is wrong. There is a serious breach of ethical and communication principles regarding privacy and confidentiality. Imagine if the herald published everything secretly disclosed in the meetings of the defence forces generals and between them and the president, this is no less. Is there something wrong with the name herald. Now if the police and the CIO do not concern themselves with finding out someone secretly tapping into private conversations. Then we are headed for disaster. The herald should disclose how they got the information. And who is the source of that information..

    • conspiracy

      utter rubbish indeed. zifa sensationalised this story from the word go and now that fifa’s decision has gone against them, they cry foul. imagine if fifa had endorsed these bans, the corruption stories making the headlines would have been dwarfed by asiagate, we all know that we the way these zifa buffoons want publicity!!!

    • [email protected]

      this is clear from the look of things ZIFA do not have evidence , its like forcing the court to sentence someone when you can not provide evidence that the accused indeed broke the law

    • joe12

      Nonsense ZIFA is not a government department, they are just careless and clueless without any mechanism to manage information. This is a public matter which people hae the right to know, just like how Dube stole millions of $$$$ at PSMAS

  • True or False

    ah Herald celebrating hacking of people’s email accounts?

  • Hombarume

    The problem is that Zifa was also not fair on the penalties to “offenders”. Some were given heafty penalties other let go, based on unfair grounds. If they had been fair i gues Fifa wld have treated their case different. The accused also would have raised the same unfair punishment to show that Zifa didnt act fair. Therefore a body like FIFA dont want to be seen being draged to court and have its reputation tarnished.

  • Chris okochuku

    After reading Hope Chizuzu’s letter i think Mashingaidze is right and is justified to question the credibility of FIFA

  • TIOA


  • Chris Okochuku

    Hope Chizuzu i will never read your articles again in a thousand years. Herald is busy reporting about curuption and maladministration in parastatals but you are busy trying to defeat the course of justice coz you are an interested party, shame on you

  • non aligned

    The challenge is that ZIFA wanted to manage the information. ZIFA is a public institution and not private hence there is nothing wrong in information being made public. If things are done in a transparent manner there is no need to be worried.

  • jairos

    Kupenga kwaMashingaidze naDube very corrupt. Good investigative journalism.

  • Godfrey Mazura

    FIFA is right, Mashingaidze is wrong. What privacy are you talking about? ZIFA just could not get their act right from day one.Dube, Gumende and this Mashingaidze were so arrogant and deserve to be booted out. They were a massive disaster to our football.

  • The Oracle

    Shame that journo Hope is busy using the newspaper to fight his own battle with Zifa, or Mashingaidze. He hacks Mash’s email account, which is a criminal offence by the way, and publishes the contents of same, without giving Mash the right or opportunity to respond or defend himself. Where are journalistic ethics in this? And the (sports) editor allows this? I suspect that he is also fighting on Hope’s side because he might be involved.

    The truth of the matter is that FIFA may not sanction you, and the ZIFA sanctions may not keep you away from the game going forward, but we the real owners of the game in Zimbabwe do not trust you and your reporting. We do not want you near our teams, near our players, near our administrators, near our coaches. You are like a person with leprosy who should be cast out from among us. Please stay away, and write as much as you want from there

  • Inizvangu

    Iri idofo cahiro

  • Larry

    In as much as Mashingaidze might have erred in his approach to this whole issue, i feel Chizuzu is using the media as a way of fighting a battle or as a way of showing his innocence which should not have been the case. It would have been better if another journalist had written this article as it now looks like a personal vendetta of settling scores, using the media. Mashingaidze has a right to ask FIFA and register his displeasure with their conduct. As a nation we were taken for a ride by the players, journalists and administrators who were involved in this scandal. Whilst FIFA has refused to take any action on the matter let it be known that they are setting a bad precedence in issues to do with matchfixing. Mashingaidze in my opinion is standing up to what he believes is the right course of action to be taken against the perpetrators…….we do not condone match-fixing in our sports. Lets stop the rot by weeding out such people….even within ZIFA its self

  • [email protected]

    the law is very clear on the fact that Innocent untill proven guilty, so if you can not prooof that the acused is guilty then its a mere waste of time like what Gumede said

  • gina1

    Hope Chizuzu has to be the best investigative journalist in zimbabwe, he gives the nation news that we will never get to know. All ZIFA has to do is to deny what Hope Chizuzu has written to prove him wrong. Mr Chizuzu keep it up Master class reporting.

  • Gforce

    Chizuzu has just demonstrated he is a proper journalist and could work for any tabloid newspaper in the world, unlike Petrous Kausiyo and Sharuko, under the armpit of Dube and Mashingaidze.

  • Ca$hbert

    ZIFA, you don’t pay employees for 7 – 10 months they will sell information to journalists, Mashingaidze you have yourselves to blame, ZIFA you are busy bribing journalists not paying employees salaries

  • Mimi

    @significantwatemwa:disqus Mashingaidze is very very wrong. Anything written down on paper is meant to be read by some people at some point. Hence the more reason why individuals should always thrive to write the truth about anything. And you think FIFA will loose sleep because of Mashingaidze’s absurd allegations. Vakadya funds dzeZIFA these guys and now they want to start pointing fingers. Why was he queit all along?

  • joe12

    How is Hope Chizuzu wrong? Do you think Kausiyo or Sharuko will ever write anything about Mashingaidze or ZIFA? More Journalists like Chizuzu will clean up the corruption in the country, i will not be surprised if Chizuzu is the one behind the PSMAS investigations that exposed Dube. What measures has ZIFA got to safeguard their information? People are paid a lot of money to safeguard information (IT experts) not to bribe journalists.