HomeSportSoccerSport Comment: Asiagate: Any need for threats?

Sport Comment: Asiagate: Any need for threats?

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Football in Zimbabwe cannot be a matter of life and death. Certainly not.

We find it strange some people would want to target one member of the Zifa investigating committee in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal and single him out as somebody who has put their lives at risk.

The committee has four members — Ndumiso Gumede, Eliot Kasu, Benedict Moyo and Fungai Chihuri — appointed by the current Zifa Board to look at the issue of match-fixing that rocked Zimbabwe since 2007 following numerous trips to Asia.

Why would one person, or a group of persons, threaten Moyo?

Was it because he was the secretary of the committee or was it just personal hatred?

The document has been dismissed as having flaws because the interviews were not conducted under oath and even the Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart has admitted the porous document would be difficult to use to arrest and prosecute people.

Former Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya said if people have evidence a crime was committed, they should testify in a court of law.

Other accused like Godfrey Japajapa, Methembe Ndlovu, Luke Masomere, Kudzi Shaba, Nyasha Mushekwi, Method Mwanjali, Sunday Chidzambwa and Hope Chizuzu have denied some of the accusations levelled against them.

So why would one want to spend a good Saturday chasing after Moyo?

Why would one not want to spend that energy clearing his name?

See — whether a crime was committed or not, and whether people’s names have been soiled or not — the real issue lies in those with the power to make decisions.

And in this case, the Sports and Recreation Commission — under the leadership of lawyer Joseph James and its parent ministry under another lawyer, Coltart — is better placed to give the nation direction.

Coltart has already done so.

The police and Fifa, empowered by their statutes, can also take action, and Fifa president Sepp Blatter has already threatened a life ban on alleged perpetrators if found guilty.

The Parliament of Zimbabwe was on Thursday told security is needed for members of the committee, which means they took the threats against Moyo seriously.

However, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube has been silent since the release of the report.

“As we speak now one of our board members is in hiding because there are people baying for his blood. We need Parliament to assist us to have legislative support which will be foolproof in making people who deface football accountable for their mischief through the statutes.

“It will protect the game of football because without that, our game will be susceptible to the machinations of fraudsters.

“We also want assurance of security for the Asiagate investigators due to the death threats to some of our members,” Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said.

We believe it is time people put their heads together and came clean on why the attacks on the committee are centred on Gumede and Moyo only.

Are some people afraid of Kasu because he is a soldier or Chihuri because his surname sounds familiar?

A note to the Zimbabwean parliamentarians: Bulgaria’s parliament has approved legal amendments to make match-fixing and corruption in sport a crime with penalties of up to six years in prison.

Lawmakers voted on Thursday to add a whole new chapter “Offences against Sports” to the penal code under which those convicted of match-fixing or bribing would also face fines of up to $10 800.

Last year, authorities investigated allegations of match-fixing in eight football matches, but legal proceedings stumbled over lack of provision in criminal law.

The new legislation was expected to also counter illegal online betting which had gained immense popularity in the country.

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