HomeSportSoccerZim booted out of 2018 Fifa World Cup

Zim booted out of 2018 Fifa World Cup

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ZIMBABWE was yesterday expelled from the preliminary competition of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia after failing to settle a $67 000 salary debt for former Warriors coach, Brazilian Valinhos, whose real name is Jose Claudinei Georgini.

BY WELLINGTON TONI

Zimbabwe’s expulsion spoils Fifa’s recent claim of a first qualifying campaign where all its member federations would play.
The ban came on the day the 2018 qualifiers started with Bhutan, ranked 209 out of 209 in the world, winning their first ever World Cup qualifier by beating Sri Lanka 1-0 while East Timor beat Mongolia 4-1 in another match in the global World Cup qualifying programme.

The move to disqualify Zimbabwe would mean that Fifa, which was due to give Zifa $300 000 for the World Cup qualifiers, would now use the money to pay Valinhos if Zifa loses its urgent appeal submitted yesterday.

Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze last night said they had appealed to Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke over the disqualification.

“The Fifa Disciplinary Committee today (yesterday), 12 March 2015, notified the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) that it was expelled from the preliminary competition of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia. The expulsion comes as a result of the non-payment of an outstanding debt by Zifa to the coach José Claudinei Georgini following a decision passed on 15 August 2012 by the single judge of Fifa’s Players’ Status Committee,” the world football governing body wrote yesterday.

“As the single judge’s decision was final and binding and Zifa did not settle its debt, disciplinary proceedings for failure to respect a decision (in application of art. 64 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code) were opened against Zifa upon the request of the coach. The Fifa Disciplinary Committee passed a first decision in April 2013, by means of which in particular, and in addition to receiving a fine, Zifa was granted a 60-day period to settle half of its debt to the coach and a 120-day period to settle the remainder of the debt.”

Fifa said Zifa was warned of the consequences of not paying the debt.

“In view of the fact that Zifa did not settle its debt to the coach, and following the request of the coach, the case was presented again before the Fifa Disciplinary Committee, which rendered a second decision. In its decision, the Fifa Disciplinary Committee granted Zifa a final period of grace of 60 days to settle the debt with Mr Georgini,” Fifa said.

“Additionally, Zifa was warned that, if the debt was not settled within the granted period (and upon the presentation of a formal claim by the creditor), then, in addition to the imposition of a fine, they would be expelled from the preliminary competition of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia. Zifa was informed that the expulsion would be ordered automatically without any further decision needed from the Fifa Disciplinary Committee and, once more, Zifa did not appeal the decision. Given Zifa’s failure to make any payment within the granted periods and the request presented by the creditor, the Fifa Disciplinary Committee – in line with its second decision – ordered the expulsion of Zifa from the preliminary competition of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia.”

In a letter to Zifa dated March 10, 2015, Fifa deputy secretary in the Disciplinary Committee Jose Rodríguez, said Valinhos had requested for the immediate expulsion of Zifa from the 2018 World Cup.

“Therefore, in view of the request received, in line with point II.4 of the decision of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee and bearing in mind the fact that no payment has been apparently made within the deadline granted, by means of the foregoing the Zimbabwe Football Associationis expelled from the preliminary competition of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia. Consequently, the Zimbabwe Football Association will also not be entitled to participate in the preliminary draw of the competition,”Rodríguez.

Mashingaidze told NewsDay that: “We have already appealed to the Fifa secretary-general as he had asked us to favour his office with our state of indebtedness by March 16, which is Monday. We will also engage the regional office (Southern and East Development officer Ashford Mamelodi), but we will also stand guided by the board. It is sad that Zimbabwe has been expelled against the background of severe financial challenges.”

He said he was due to meet Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa last night over the matter.

Zifa had apparently committed itself to start servicing Valinhos’ debt beginning January 31 this year.

Mashingaidze on October 31, 2014 last year wrote to Valinhos’ lawyer Victor Eleuteiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, pleading for a grace period as Zifa was cash-strapped.

Part of the appeal read: “Should we be expelled from Fifa competitions, oursituation would even be more dire as we would not be able to service our debts, let alone function as an organisation.We plead with your client to grant us an extension in the interests of football.”

On December 1 2014, Mashingaidze, again pleaded with the Fifa secretary-general not to exclude Zimbabwe from the 2018 World Cup.
Valinhos was brought in during the Wellington Nyatanga era, which alsohad Henrietta Rushwaya as chief executive officer in 2008.

Valinhos was unveiled at a glittering ceremony in Harare by the late Zifa patron Vice-President Joseph Msika before signing his contract.
He was, however, fired after a dismal 2010 Afcon and World Cup campaign without receiving the balance of his salary.

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