WORLD football governing body Fifa has kept mum on Tuesday’s meeting with a Zifa delegation over the Asiagate match fixing scandal.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI
Fifa met Zifa vice president Ndumiso Gumede and chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze on Tuesday in Zurich for oral presentations in a bid to finally put the long running soap opera on match fixing to bed.
In a short reply to inquiries over the outcome of the meeting, Fifa said the matter is still ongoing: “As the matter is on-going, we cannot comment for the time-being.”
Gumede said they are expecting to receive a list of names from the world football governing body, which wants files of individual players and officials who were allegedly involved in the scam.
“We had a successful meeting which had two sessions, the first dealing with Asiagate and the other, the constitution.
“We met the chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee Claudio Sulser and his two lieutenants and explained to him that the problem of match fixing started before we came into office and was instigated by the Sports Commission, which had asked us to look into that trip to Malaysia (by Monomotapa).
“In the process, we found that there were more problems. We were also asked how the SRC reacted to such an issue as if there was no executive committee in place,” the Zifa vice president said last night.
Gumede was chairman of the initial investigating committee and his team included Eastern Region boss Fungai Chihuri and board members (finance) and development respectively, Elliot Kasu and Benedict Moyo.
The probe was launched at the insistence of the SRC after Monomotapa, without clearance from the supreme sports council, had travelled to Malaysia and posed as the national senior team, the Warriors in 2009. ‘Monomotapa’ lost the match 4-0.
The match fixing scandal, which saw a total of 80 players banned and 15 officials and players receiving life bans, took place between 2007 and 2009 when the national team was allegedly paid to lose matches in Asia.
Gumede added: “They (Fifa), also asked about the judicial structures in Zimbabwe and why we had to involve the Justice Ebrahim Commission and whether it is provided for in the constitution. We put it to them that we are entitled to put in place Adhoc committees to deal with such matters if they arise from time to time.
“Fifa then said they would require individualised files of some cases by Friday (today) so that they can see whether each and every one of those persons was called up for the hearings in accordance with football statutes“So in the period from tomorrow (today) and barring any interference, since we know there are some pressures that might force Mashingaidze to attend to issues that have nothing to do with this, we expect to receive the list of those individuals and send back the requested files,” the veteran administrator said.
It is then expected that once this is done, Fifa will make the final ruling on whether the bans are cancelled or take a worldwide effect.
Gumede added: “There is a feeling that the Zifa Board is the one meting out the sentences against these players and individuals. No we are not . . . we were simply endorsing the recommendations of the Ebrahim committee and we are the final arbiter.”
Next week, a Specials Appeals Committee will hear appeals from former Warriors players Method Mwanjali and Thomas Sweswe and former coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who have all appealed against life bans imposed on them by the local association.
The delay by Fifa in releasing the final verdict of the investigation has kept the nation guessing since former security chief of the world soccer governing body Chris Eaton visited the country together with his chief investigator Terry Steans.
However, Eaton, has been replaced byRalf Mutschke.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has also visited the country and maintained that offenders would be punished with life bans, if proper channels of investigations have been followed.
Former chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya has also been arrested and charged with allegedly concealing information from a principal regarding the trips to Asia between 2007 and 2009, bribery and corruption by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Mashingaidze was also allegedly kidnapped and extorted of $2 000 for his involvement in the match-fixing investigations. Two men were arrested and jailed for the offence. He is also involved in a civil case with Rushwaya which is now at the Supreme Court over new allegations of match fixing during Zimbabwe’s 2014 World Cup qualifiers last year.
In April, there were reports that Fifa had quashed all the convictions, but Fifa, in a statement in response said then: “Fifa is in continuous contact with Zifa and currently analysing all the documentation received in this respect. Further information will be provided in due course. In the meantime, please understand that we cannot comment on the proceedings.”
Then Marco Villiger, the Director of Legal Affairs at Fifa, and Marco Cavaliero, the Head of Disciplinary and Governance at Fifa wrote to Zifa after that summoning the Zifa bosses to make oral presentations in Zurich.