Zifa promotion crisis

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Zifa has admitted its player registration system is flawed following two disciplinary cases in the Central and Northern Regions that have threatened to derail the start of the 2012 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

Both cases involve improperly registered players Tatenda Chingarah from Hardbody in Gweru and Webster Muronda from Harare City.

Hardbody were docked 42 points for illegally using the player in 14 matches but won their case on appeal, while Tripple B, who had earlier been confirmed champions, have taken their case to the Arbitration Centre.

Harare City were crowned champions but docked 18 points for the use of Muronda in six games leaving DStv Rangers as winners of the sole ticket to the Premiership. On Monday, Harare City appealed against that decision.

So intense is the issue that Tripple B sponsor Edward Kanyangu is due in Harare today at the invitation of a stunned Zifa president Cuthbert Dube at a judgment that is contrary to the rules and regulations of the game.

This follows yesterdays revelations by this paper that Hardbody registered Chingarah without a reverse international clearance letter from the Namibia Football Association which had led to the docking of 42 points from the Gweru side.

A disciplinary hearing conducted by the Central Region discovered this issue and punished Hardbody for each of the 14 games that Chingarah played, leading to Tripple B being crowned champions.
Hardbody appealed and won the case last week, despite this obvious anomaly.

NewsDay Sport has been told that Dube, Tripple B and other officials at the national association are livid that a clear case of an improperly registered player is threatening to derail the top-flight league and the start of the season in lower divisions.

Sources said yesterday: The rules of the game are clear Chingarah played in Namibia and upon return and before registration by any club; he was supposed to present a reverse ITC (international transfer clearance).

Zifa has confirmed that no such reverse ITC was issued for Hardbody to register the player, so how was it done?

A hearing was conducted at regional level and the case was found to be very clear that the player had no reverse ITC and the Appeals Committee chose to ignore that. Why? Why did they also chose to ignore that Hardbody director Takesure Sibanda was fined $800 for attempted match-fixing?

All these are factors that were ignored and Tripple B is demanding answers otherwise there will be a lot of embarrassment when the real truth comes out, a source said.

Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze weighed in yesterday, avoiding pointing fingers at the Appeals Committee. I cannot comment on the case because it is subjudice but there are general football rules that have to be adhered to.

When a player intends to be part of the domestic league but has been playing in a different association, he needs to be cleared before he can do that.

A reverse international clearance certificate is requested, in this case, by Zifa on behalf of the club that wants to engage his or her services and that clearance is issued in favour of Zifa and not the club.

Zifa will then write to the club to inform them that their player has been cleared and they proceed to dispose of any registration rituals as per rules and regulations for the affiliate he has to play in, whether its Division One, Two or the PSL.

I think that is very clear. If there is untoward behaviour with regard to that, the player will not be allowed to take part in any league in any association. If he does, there are standing orders for each association and points are docked, he said.

While admitting the flaws in the registration system, he said the Arbitration Centre would handle the case and was hopeful it would be a closed chapter by the end of January.

This only goes to show the flaws in our system and we would not want a repeat of such cases in 2012 as we now have the Fifa Transfer Matching System that picks out such irregularities.

But what is worrisome is the ripple effects on basically all the leagues, Division One, Division Two and the PSL.

We do not have a sport arbitration court, so we have to take the case to the Arbitration Centre. I have written to them to advise us of the panel that will handle the case because we need the case to be solved before the end of January, Mashingaidze said.