ZIFA board to deliberate National League Xolisani Gwesela

Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter

ZIFA are set to deliberate on the request by Division One regions to defer the proposed National League start when the board hold their annual meeting this Friday.

The ZIFA four regions, namely Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern, have written to the local football motherbody expressing their concerns on the manner the new member is being admitted into the football structures.

The regions have requested ZIFA to defer the National League start to next year as well as observe the constitution during the implementation stage.

The regions said their clubs had already made contractual agreements for this season with the promotion matrix in mind.

The regions are also challenging the constitutionality of how ZIFA wants to run the new league.

In a combined letter to the association last week, the club chairpersons expressed their concerns and said they are not ready to be part of the National League this season.

Yesterday, ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, said the matter would be addressed at Friday’s meeting.

“The issue will be tabled before the ZIFA board meeting that is on this Friday. That is where the matter will be deliberated,” said Gwesela.

ZIFA early this month advised the four regions that it had resolved to embark on the National League in line with section 10 of the ZIFA Constitution.

They invited four clubs from each region to join the inaugural league.

The bottom four clubs that were relegated from the Premiership are also expected to join the new league.

But the club chairpersons expressed their misgivings about the timing and strategy.

“As the leadership of the Regional Leagues and in consultation with our respective clubs, we note with concern the apparent breach of the ZIFA constitution in the manner in which you seek to admit the National League, as a member.

“Article 9 of the ZIFA constitution, deals with the Admission, Suspension and Expulsion of members, more in particular: Article 9.1 states that the Congress shall decide whether to admit, suspend or expel a Member, whereas Article 9.2 goes further to state that, the admission may be granted if the applicant fulfills the requirements of ZIFA, such requirements are as enumerated in Article 10(3),” read the statement from the four regions.

The regional bosses feel that ZIFA do not have to make unilateral decisions on the formation of the league as this remains the prerogative of the Congress.

Instead, the regions want a steering committee that will be composed of the four regions as well as the Premier Soccer League to run the affairs of the inaugural National League.

“We again wish to highlight that Article 22 set the broad parameters for the Authority of the Congress, and more specifically Article 22(i) states that the Congress has the authority to admit, suspend or expel a member.

“It is our observation that the above constitutional requirements have not been satisfied. As much as we concede that the Executive Committee is clothed with powers to make decisions, Article 34(a) is very explicit, that the Executive Committee shall pass decisions on all cases that do not come within the sphere of responsibility of Congress or are not reserved for other bodies by law or under these statutes.

“We wish to bring to your attention that the admission of a member is a preserve of Congress, and such a decision cannot be passed by the Executive Committee. For the avoidance of doubt Article 10, merely provides for the membership of a National League, once it has been established.

“The said article must never be read to imply that it is a requirement, but merely a provision, and whose establishment must clearly follow the strict laid down guidelines, as provided for in Article 9. Given the foregoing, it is very clear that the Executive Committee is acting outside its remit without any due cause.

“The Regions, as members of the Congress, categorically wish to put it on record that we do not condone flagrant disregard of our constitution, and want to affirm that we expect the Executive Committee to strictly uphold the constitution and allow for due process in so far as the admission of a member is concerned,” reads the statement.

The chairpersons further noted that the impromptu creation will simply paralyse their clubs which will automatically become third-tier football.

The clubs’ representatives reckon that clubs had signed players and entered into agreements with players to compete for league honours.

“The conceptualisation and communication of such an important league must be well thought out. The Executive Committee must take the lead and avail all the necessary information, less there be more chaos in the football environment. The creation and admission of the National League have a huge bearing on the current structures which have served our football well, and the continued existence of these lower leagues must be of paramount importance to the leadership.

“There can never be any logical reason why we may want to rupture all contractual obligations which teams in the lower leagues may have entered into, be it with their players or sponsors. We have teams that have signed players on the basis that they will be playing Division One Football.

“Teams that have signed up with sponsors and drawn up budgets for regional division one football, all this and so many other social factors have to be evaluated, for the good of our game. All this catastrophe can be avoided by simply giving due notice to all clubs at the commencement of this season ahead, and defer this noble idea to next year, and in the meantime allow for the necessary preparations,” read the letter.

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