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Players, officials have time to appeal

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BANNED players and officials under the Asiagate match-fixing scandal have more time to appeal against the decisions made by Zifa as the final report has not yet been received by the chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI SPORTS EDITOR

Fifteen officials and players were banned for life last Friday for alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal, while a set of new bans and suspensions for up to 10 years will be announced by Zifa on Friday. Responding to inquiries from NewsDay Sport on the appeal process yesterday, the world football governing body said: “Fifa is in touch with Zifa and we are expecting their final report about this case, which will be submitted to the chairman of the Disciplinary Committee.

“Fifa’s bodies have not passed any decision and, therefore, an appeal is inadmissible. If you refer to the decisions passed by the Zimbabwe FA and request information on appeals against those decisions, you shall be referred to the regulations of the Zimbabwe FA applicable to that matter.”

Asked whether Fifa will endorse what Zifa has decided, increase or shorten some of the bans and suspensions, the world football governing body said extensions will be approved if Zifa’s decisions meet the regulations of the international body.

“The request of extension will be approved if, among others, the decision complies with the regulations of Fifa.

“In other words, Fifa will refrain from passing a decision and the task of the chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee will be to verify whether the conditions to extend the sanctions to have worldwide effect are fulfilled or not,” Fifa said.

The body, presided over by Sepp Blatter, who visited Zimbabwe last year and spoke strongly against match-fixing, said they had no jurisdiction over media personnel who have been banned.

“Media personal, at first sight, cannot be party to Fifa disciplinary proceedings and are not subject to the Fifa Disciplinary Code. Should those persons be outside football, State law is applicable, such as the criminal code.”

Marcel Mathier of Switzerland chairs the disciplinary committee and has two deputies – Rafael Melo Esquivel and Muhammad Khan Sahu of Venezuela and Fiji, respectively. The rest of members of the committee are drawn from Jamaica, Sweden, Honduras, Paraguay, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, United States, Algeria, Macedonia, Hong Kong, Cape Verde Islands, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Austria, Wales and Pakistan.

If any banned person loses their appeal with Fifa, they can turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, according to Section (10) of the Fifa disciplinary code.

It reads: “Anyone who conspires to influence the result of a match in a manner contrary to sporting ethic shall be sanctioned with a match suspension or ban on taking part in any football-related activity as well as a fine of at least CHF15 000. In serious cases, a lifetime ban on taking part in any related activity shall be imposed.

“However, those banned may appeal to Fifa in three days after lodging a fee of CHF3 000. If their appeal is turned down, they may turn to the Court of Sport Arbitration.”

Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze confirmed yesterday that they had not heard anything from Fifa.

“We have not heard anything, but we are expecting a response tomorrow (today). We have also communicated with the South African Football Association (Safa) on the decisions made last Friday and they have since acknowledged receipt.”

However, Friday decisions can only have a world-wide effect after endorsement or otherwise by Fifa. For now, sanctions are only applicable to football which is under the jurisdiction of Zifa.

The South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL) said they will wait for a directive from Safa before they act.

“We have not been given any written instructions by Safa (regarding the Asiagate bans). We will only act when this happens,” PSL communications manager Connie Motshumi told KickOff.com.

“I cannot make any speculations right now about what will happen because we have not been given any instructions.”

Safa chief executive Robin Petersen said the body had written to Fifa in the last two months asking for clarity about their investigation, but had received no response.

“We will continue to correspond with them and we have taken note of what has transpired in Zimbabwe over the past days,” he told Sowetan.

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