Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA legal advisor, Chenaimoyo Gumiro, says his clients are simply being harassed by the Sports Commission and have no case to answer at all in the fallout that has dominated domestic football.
The Harare lawyer has now taken centre stage in terms of defending the ousted ZIFA board, and claims the SRC have been on a witch-hunt, to just find a way to nail the association’s elected leaders.
The SRC laid a number of charges against the suspended ZIFA board, including allegations of poor governance and lack of transparency.
However, Gumiro challenged the suspension of the board and hinted they will fight to overturn the decision.
“Pursuant to the suspension of the ZIFA executive committee by the SRC, through a letter dated 16 November 2021, I now wish to respond in detail to the allegations that have been levelled against the ZIFA executive committee,’’ he said.
“The first thing to note is that the suspension is done in terms of Section 30 of the SRC Act, which section permits SRC to intervene, in circumstances where a national association, has acted contrary to national interests.
“The Act does not permit the SRC to intervene in any other situations other than those provided for by the Act, which is a breach of national interest.
“In our situation, the SRC does not define the national interest that has been breached by ZIFA.
“The SRC alleges that ZIFA has failed to provide details pertaining to the money disbursed to it by Government, or the public, and that it has also failed to provide details of the charter plane that was used to ferry passengers to AFCON 2019, and the expenses surrounding that trip.
“There is no mention, whatsoever, of the national interest that has been breached by ZIFA.
“All we have are details pertaining to the AFCON tournament.’’
Gumiro claims this was just a case of his clients being harassed by the SRC.
“The money that was received from Government in 2019 was specifically for payment of player bonuses and this money was acquitted to SRC, through a letter dated 23 August 2019, which was received by the SRC, and which also had the proof of payment that the US$53 000 had been paid to the players as their allowances,” said Gumiro.
“SRC is now saying ZIFA failed to provide these particular details whereas correspondence is there in black and white to show that they have all the information.
“One then wonders what sort of further details does SRC require from ZIFA.
“To us this is just a case of mere harassment, and interference, in the administration of a national association.
“No national interests have been defined and no national interests have been mentioned to say this is what ZIFA has breached.
“Failure to provide documents or details, if any, as is alleged, does not constitute a breach of national interests?
“To us this is not about football, this has to do with something else and as such, the ZIFA executive committee remains resolute that what was done by SRC is wrong.’’
He said they were aware of the talks between the SRC and FIFA.
“We are aware of the engagements between SRC and FIFA and we believe that that’s the correct way of doing things,’’ said Gumiro.
“FIFA is promoting fair governance and it does not rush to make decisions without affording the other party an opportunity to be heard.
“And, this is what SRC should have done without rushing to make a decision.
“They should also have engaged with ZIFA and if this was done, surely we would not have reached this stage.”
The suspended ZIFA leadership have been elusive, when invited by the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport, to shed light on the way football was being run.
Among the charges laid out by the SRC were the mismanagement, and lack of accountability, in the use of public funds, with specific reference to how such funds were spent during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign.
Zimbabwean football has been in a free-fall, under the suspended leadership, and Gumiro still feels this does not constitute national interest.