Zifa has written to Fifa asking for the world football governing body to intervene in their fight with the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).
BY HENRY MHARA
After SRC suspended Zifa general-secretary Joseph Mamutse pending an investigation for alleged violation of its statutes, the local football governing body argues that the move constitutes government interference.
SRC is a government parastatal that regulates sports in the country. However, the body insists that it is not a government entity.
Fifa does not tolerate any government interference in football matters.
Fifa has previously handed harsh punishments, including bans and suspensions when governments interfered in the running of the game.
A Fifa suspension would mean all national teams and local clubs would be banned from playing in international competitions and funding would cease until reinstatement was granted.
The SRC announced Mamutse’s suspension through a statement on Thursday, but they have not formally communicated the decision to Zifa.
Zifa’s letter to Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura was signed by Mamutse, in a clear indication that the association was in complete disregard of the SRC directive.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association has learnt through media reports of the suspension of its general-secretary Joseph Mamutse by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC),” wrote Mamutse in a letter dated November 29, 2020.
“We want to advise that as of now we have not received any official communication from the SRC. Once we get official communication, we will advise Fifa. If the media statements circulating are true, we are of the firm belief that this constitutes interference by a third party in the administration of football in Zimbabwe. We believe that our statutes and judicial bodies have necessary provisions and capacity to deal with any intransigence committed by the general-secretary if any.”
He added: “As an association, we are carrying necessary investigations to establish whether or not our general-secretary acted outside provisions of football statutes or unlawfully.
Once we establish any wrongdoing on the part of the general-secretary, appropriate action will be taken and we will notify you,” the letter read in part.
This is not the first time that SRC has attempted to meddle in the running of the game. They were last year cautioned by the world football governing body after they tried to remove the current Zifa executive.
The same organisation last year also got its fingers burnt when they tried to remove the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board.
The Gerald Mlotshwa-led body was told to reinstate the ZC board that he had suspended or the country would face a ban from international competitions.
Zifa has accused Mlotshwa of trying to muscle out the current board and replace it with a normalisation committee made up of his friends and business associates.
“A lot of lies have been peddled against the current Zifa board in desperate attempts to vilify it,” Zifa wrote in a statement after its executive committee meeting at the weekend.
“The Zifa board and secretariat is fully aware of efforts clandestinely underway to even go to the extent of suspending the board on spurious charges without according it a chance to defend itself on any allegation as provided for under section 30 of the SRC Act. The board has in its possession, evidence of the actions of the SRC board chair where he has tried in the past to have the Zifa president arrested for winning an election through alleged vote-buying. Zifa is in possession of a letter then penned to the director-general of SRC by the SRC chairman where he was instructing the secretariat to lay criminal charges on the Zifa president and was confirming in the same letter that he has had a meeting with the previous Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa and was given an affidavit from one Matoka.
“This case was subsequently dismissed by the National Prosecuting Authority after a full investigation and was later resuscitated this time under another police department and Zacc (Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission). Having done this, the SRC chairman in their letter to the minister while proposing the bubble concept then sought to portray a picture of a Zifa running without leadership because the president and one of its board members were facing criminal charges. The efforts by the SRC chairperson if put towards development of the game will achieve much, but clearly some within the SRC have other motives.”
Fifa has not yet responded to the Zifa letter.