Asiagate: 20 players interviewed

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Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa)s Independent Disciplinary Committee battling to beat the Fifa May 31 deadline has so far interviewed 20 players over their alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal.

The committee had initially targeted March 31 to have completed its investigations into the Asiagate match-fixing scandal, but has been weighed down by the complexity of the cases and by their own admission Zifa has failed to meet the target but remain confident of beating the deadline set by world football governing body Fifa.

Zifa communications manager Nicky Dhlamini confirmed the committee had stepped up efforts in its bid to put a lid to the scandal. She said so far 20 players had been interviewed and that the association could not at this stage name these players because of the sensitive nature of the issue.

Zifa acknowledge the anxiety that has gripped the nation and like all stakeholders would like to put a lid on Asiagate and start a new chapter, this will be done before the FIFA set deadline of 31 May 2012, she said.

Since the commissioning of the Zifa Independent (Ad hoc) Disciplinary Committee in October 2012, a series of consultations have been made between the committee and other support structures such as the Anti-Corruption Commission and ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police).

The committee began interviewing players and officials in February with the intention of completing the investigation process by 31 March 2012. However, due to the complexity of the cases and location of the interviews, the process has taken longer than expected.

There have been attempts to muzzle the investigations with Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze being allegedly extorted of $10 000 in a bid to slow down the process. He has since received support from Fifa after the incident.

The world soccer governing body wants a detailed report of the events leading to the arrest of a CIO operative, Richard Mubaiwa, and John Chari over the matter.

We refer to the matter of reference and inform you that from the content of various media reports, we have come to learn with great dismay about the unfortunate incident in which you were involved on 21 February 2012 in Harare, supposedly in connection with the current match-fixing investigations involving the Zimbabwe Football Association.

In order for us to have a proper understanding of the situation, we ask you to provide us with a detailed report on the account of events relating to the unfortunate incident, read part of the letter by Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke to Mashingaidze.

Furthermore, we take this opportunity to confirm Fifas support towards Zifa and its actions in connection the match-fixing allegations.

Also we stress that the meeting held between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Fifas president (Sepp Blatter) on July 4, 2011 was organised upon Fifas request as it is customary for the Fifa president to meet the highest political authorities in the countries he visits, said Valcke.

Former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya has been arrested and charged with concealing information to a principal, bribery and corruption in relation to Asiagate and is out on $500 bail.

Warriors coach Norman Mapeza was also suspended together with his assistant Joey Antipas.