‘ZIFA charges haven’t been reduced’

20 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
‘ZIFA charges haven’t been reduced’

The Herald

Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor

THE Sports Commission have dug in, reiterating they have not dropped any of the charges, which led them to dissolve the ZIFA board this week.

As another day passed yesterday, without any signs of either side backing down, there were reports the SRC received a letter from FIFA, asking them to provide justification, for their move.

However, no confirmation could be obtained, last night, from both the SRC chairman, Gerald Mlotshwa, or their spokesperson, Elta Nengomasha.

On Thursday, ZIFA lawyer, Chenaimoyo Gumiro, said the charges, which his clients were now facing, had been whittled down to just one.

He said he didn’t believe it was enough to push the SRC to dissolve the association’s leadership.

Gumiro said the only charge, according to the latest communication they received from the SRC, was related to the trip which ZIFA financed, on a chartered flight, for their Councillors and some supporters, to watch the 2019 Nations Cup finals, in Egypt.

The Harare lawyer said he did not believe such a charge could result in the dissolution of the board, arguing it did not meet the standards where the ZIFA board could be deemed, to have acted against national interests.

On Tuesday, Mlotshwa addressed a media conference, in the company of some of his fellow Commissioners, where he announced the dissolution of the ZIFA board was because of:

1) Mismanagement and lack of accountability in the use of public funds with specific reference to the letter issued to ZIFA on July 3, 2019, where ZIFA was asked to account fully for the use of public funds in the aftermath of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign. The letter has not been responded to at all.

2) The sending of national teams, outside of Zimbabwe, without Covid-19 clearances from the SRC.

3) The SRC is also in receipt of a report of alleged sexual harassment of female referees by key technical staff within ZIFA. Despite several requests for the matter to be decisively dealt with, ZIFA did not give the matter adequate attention in view of its gravity.

4) Failure to address gender imbalances relating to the treatment of female national teams, compared to their male counterparts in terms of allowances, up-keep and unfavourable operating conditions.

5) Failure to address and make appropriate investment of the development fund as provided by FIFA for grassroots and junior football development.

6  No evidence of any meaningful development at grassroots level.

7. A looming constitutional crisis within ZIFA viz pending elections.’’

However, a second letter, addressed to ZIFA on Wednesday, only dealt with the charge of the trip to Egypt and the public funds the association received related to the AFCON finals.

Yesterday, Mlotshwa said they haven’t been any changes to the charges the ousted board were facing.

“There were no changes,’’ he said. ‘’There was a statement done for the press.

“This is the document (the media) got on the day (of the announcement). 

“It’s not a legal document.

“A separate letter was done to the ZIFA directors, making it clear that their suspension was based on the allegations, of the letter of 3rd July 2019.

“The confusion came about because the SRC management sent a wrong draft to ZIFA.

“This was recalled and the correct authorised letter sent.’’

Mlotshwa also provided clarity on the status of the ZIFA board members, who were ousted this week, but hold other portfolios in their constituencies.

Farai Jere, the PSL chairman, and Barbra Chikosi, the women’s football boss, sit on the ZIFA board by virtue of the positions they hold at their constituencies.

Unlike the other board members, the duo are not elected directly by the ZIFA Assembly.

“Jere is only suspended as a ZIFA director, it doesn’t affect his PSL status,’’ said Mlotshwa.

Using the same template, the same is also true about Chikosi.

Jere has been active in his league, since the suspension was announced, and led the consultations, which resulted in the gate charges, for the Chibuku Super Cup, being reduced.

He has also been in the trenches, trying to ensure that referees are secured, for the Chibuku Super Cup matches, this weekend.

The country’s top-flight league was thrown into turmoil on Tuesday when referees withdrew their services, shortly before the midweek league matches.

Sugar Chagonda broke ranks with his colleagues this week saying he will abide by the suspension.

He said he did not want to be seen to be fighting against the Government.

“So far, Zimbabwe has not been banned and personally I don’t wish for it,’’ he said.

“The country must never be held at ransom because Chagonda has been ejected from office, at least, it is not my wish.

“I love football it must be allowed to continue, due processes must be done, and decisions must be based on truth, professionalism and above all progressive.

“I shall respect the law and if need be, use the proper channels to clear my name on the allegations that have been levelled against our board but let all the other facets of football continue as there was no blanket suspension or ban on football.

“If my suspension by the authorities saves our football, and the interests of the nation at large, let it be so because I also want to enjoy good football and advance national aspirations.

“I love football but not to the extent of allowing it to put me on a collision course with my Government.

“If we expect FIFA and the whole world to respect us, we have to respect the laws of our country first and foremost even if we are in disagreement with the action.’’

Chagonda said he was now considering other options, which remain open to him, including the possibility of resigning from the ousted board.

However, he maintains, he was still making consultations before he makes his final decision.

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