HERENTALS FC have bounced back into topflight football after the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) appeals committee last night cleared them and their official Oliver Chirenga of the match-fixing conviction made by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) disciplinary committee in January this year.
By Garikai Tunhira
The club and Chirega were accused of trying to influence the result of the Castle Lager Premier League match pitting them against Black Rhinos on October 19, 2019.
The PSL disciplinary committee had found the Students guilty of contravening Order 31.1.3 of PSL rules and regulations, while Chirenga was found guilty of contravening Order 31.2.2 of the same rules and regulations.
But last night, the Zifa appeals committee said “the gravity of match-fixing issues requires standard of proof that meets the “comfortable satisfaction” principle used by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“The conviction of the appellants (Herentals and Chirega) made by the PSL disciplinary committee on January 8, 2020 be and is hereby set aside. As a result, the first and second appellants are, hereby, found not guilty and acquitted,” the Zifa appeals committee judgment read.
“The first and second appellants are, hereby, ordered to pay wasted costs to the Premier Soccer League disciplinary committee as per Zifa appeals board ruling on March 5, 2020. Thereafter, each party shall bear its own costs incurred by the parties to the appeal as from March 5, 2020.”
Herentals were fined $300 000, with the result of the match being nullified.
Chirenga was fined $20 000 and banned from any football-related activities for a period of 10 years from January 1, 2020.
Gift Kamuriwo, the Black Rhinos manager, who is said to have been implicated in the matter and was alleged to have received a US$600 bribe, was fined $10 000 and banned from any football-related activities for three years.
Last night’s judgment means the fines and bans automatically fall away.
Had Herentals been found guilty by the Zifa appeals committee, Gweru-based Air Force side Chapungu would have been the beneficiaries and bounced back into the league.