Zifa are in danger of missing out on Fifa’s Financial Assistance Funds (Faf) for the next three years if they lose their lawsuit against international match agents Kentaro, who are demanding $600 000 for the Brazil-Warriors match.
The funds come in batches of $250 000 every year for each national association but for three years this could be wiped out by the Kentaro debts in addition to legal fees incurred.
Kentaro is suing Zifa for $600 000 being funds they were entitled to get from the June 2, 2010 Brazil-Warriors match played at the National Sports Stadium.
Zifa are refusing to pay the Switzerland-based company, arguing they never received a cent from the match and heaped all the blame on former chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, who was one of the signatories to the agreement representing Zifa. The match was organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and Zifa during the Wellington Nyatanga era, but came to fruition after current boss Cuthbert Dube had assumed office.
The case went to the courts on May 15 and a determination is expected soon. Zifa have also indicated that in the event they lose the case, they will claim their money from ZTA.
Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, who recently returned from the Fifa Congress in Budapest, Hungary, said while Fifa indicated their willingness to support the national association, they were worried about weak control systems that led to some of the debts.
Just last week, Zifa lost property worth thousands of dollars to two companies who engaged the Deputy Sheriff in a bid to recover their money and the property will go under the hammer if Zifa fail to pay.
“We could lose those grants for the next three years if we lose the case because an agreement was signed for the match and we just have to clear the debt.
“We have made applications to their (Kentaro) lawyers to solve the issue amicably and they are working with our lawyers at the moment. Fifa have indicated their strong financial support to us and are even prepared to act as guarantors to our bankers to avoid a recurrence of such issues. It’s not like Zifa had no money, the administration of Rafik (Khan, former Zifa president) left about U$450 000 in its account plus Z$5 billion, but now we find ourselves in the red,” he said.
Zifa are seeking $2 million from Fifa to clear their debts and recapitalise the association which has been surviving from the pocket of Dube. They are believed to be $2,8 million in the red.
This is not the first time that Zifa have had funds deducted from their grants after former Brazilian coach Valinhos, whose coming here also had something to do with ZTA, claimed and won
$60 000 in unpaid salaries and allowances.
Meanwhile, Zifa have received a full dossier of the Asiagate match-fixing investigations meeting between former Fifa head of security Chris Eaton, former Zifa chief executive officer Rushwaya and match agent Kudzi Shaba.
The meeting between the trio took place early this year at an undisclosed location where the Zimbabweans sought to clarify their roles, if any, in the biggest match-fixing scandal to rock local football.
Eaton was supposed to return to Zimbabwe and South Africa before his departure to the International Centre for Sport Security in Asia, but failed to do so.
This was confirmed by Mashingaidze and Dube, the national association’s president, who met the new security boss Ralf Mutschke and some officials from the world football governing body.
Dube, though, is not yet back in the country, and is expected to hand over the document to the Justice Ahmed Ebrahim led-committee to assist in the conclusion of the investigations that has seen 33 players cleared.
“We got that update from Fifa and the committee is moving at full speed to conclude the investigations which could even be next week. Fifa are in full support of the finalisation of the scandal probe because of our efforts to combat match-fixing. They are planning a workshop in South Africa in August in which Zimbabwe will play a critical role,” he said.