Hardbody win

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Finally, Premiership football is back in Gweru!
Hardbody, who had been fighting for Castle Lager Premier Soccer status against Beitbridge-based Tripple B, won their case last night.

Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze confirmed the development. The case, whose decision cannot be contested, was concluded by the Commercial Arbitration Centre (CAC), chaired by Muchadeyi Masunda yesterday, bringing to closure the long-running soap opera that began last October.

Masunda sat with former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay as the Arbitral Panel.

Part of the judgment read: “The appeal is dismissed in its entirety. Tripple B is to pay the costs of the appeal including the fees levelled by the Arbitral Panel in the hearing thereof.

“The penalty of the committee a quo ordering the forfeiture of 42 points from the appellant Hardbody be and is hereby set aside.”

Hardbody had been charged with illegally using one Tatenda Chingarah, who once played for Blue Waters and SKV in Namibia, but returned without a reverse international clearance certificate.

Masunda and Gubbay recommended stiff action against Chingarah, while acknowledging that Tripple B had a genuine case.

“It is indeed unfortunate that Hardbody has escaped the deduction of 42 points in spite of knowingly fielding an improperly registered player on 14 different occasions during the 2011 football season.

“Much sympathy goes to Tripple B FC and the other clubs in the Central Soccer Region which would have benefited from a deduction of points upon Hardbody FC for its wrongdoing. Regrettably, unlike in the position of many other countries, the principle of equity is not to be found in the law of Zimbabwe.

“As far as Chingara is concerned, he was not cited as a respondent in the proceedings before the disciplinary committee. That he should remain undisciplined for his role at the centre of the scandal is hardly justified.

“The Arbitral Panel has no hesitation in endorsing the opinion of the Appeals Committee that a thorough investigation against him should be undertaken.

“The Central Region is encouraged to pass its own rules and regulations and in the interim to employ the 1996 Zifa Rules and Regulations, like the other regions are doing. At the same time, as this appeal so starkly reveals, it is imperative that the Zifa Assembly should adopt its draft rules and regulations without an unnecessary delay,” Masunda and Gubbay wrote in their judgment delivered on Wednesday.

The Gweru side, who are looking to appoint former Highlanders coach Mkhuphali Masuku as head coach, were then docked 42 points for the use of the player, leaving Tripple B to be crowned as champions.

Hardbody, who are also linked to Unki Mine, then appealed against the decision and won the case at Zifa before Tripple B took it to the CAC. Each club paid $7 000 for the case to be heard while Zifa had to deposit a $5 000 surety fee.

Hardbody were also mired in match-fixing scandals where their owner Takesure Sibanda was fined $1 000, but later won his case. Sibanda then got a reprieve from the Zifa Appeals Committee when the Tererai Gunje-chaired committee suspended the fine.

“Until the ongoing investigations by the other committee are complete, the fine of $1 000 is suspended sine die (indefinitely),” read part of the verdict.

Sibanda had been fined $1 000 for attempted match-
fixing just before the match involving his club Hardbody and Gweru Pirates. The State witness, referee Albert Mbuse, who had handled the match, reported Sibanda to football authorities and presented to the match commissioner the $200 given to him by Cosmas Nyoni.

Nyoni was taken to court by Southern Region boss Gift Banda for criminal defamation after alleging that the Bulawayo businessman had asked him to fix some games. Nyoni was discharged.

In the initial ruling, a Reginald Chidawanyika-chaired disciplinary committee docked 42 points from Hardbody after finding them guilty on all 14 counts of using Chingarah without a reverse international clearance certificate.