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SRC faces Fifa rebuff

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BY HENRY MHARA

THE Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) has put itself on a collision course with Fifa after announcing plans to replace the disbanded Zifa board with a caretaker committee, which could be enough grounds for the world governing body to sanction Zimbabwe.

If the Kenyan case is anything to go by, Fifa is set to reject the idea of a government-appointed committee to run the affairs of the game in the country.

Just like Zimbabwe, Kenya disbanded Football Kenya Federation (FKF) last week alleging misappropriation of public funds, and replaced it with a 15-member committee led by a retired judge to steer the wheel for the next six months.

SRC said it had been inspired by developments in Kenya, and went on to suspend Zifa board members earlier this week alleging abuse of public funds.

SRC board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa said they had compiled a list of possible candidates for the interim committee, which would be appointed by Sports minister Kirsty Coventry.

SRC board member Karen Mutasa said they were praying that the exercise would be endorsed by Fifa.

“We anticipate that it is possible that we will be banned. But who knows, they (Fifa) might actually be supportive and we pray and we hope for that,” she said

Kenya’s case paints a grim picture for Zimbabwe, with Fifa likely to penalise the country.

Yesterday, Fifa wrote to Kenya advising the football motherbody that it would not recognise the interim committee.

“It is up to Fifa alone, on the basis of serious and well-founded information as well as under exceptional circumstances, to order the dismissal of executive bodies of member associations followed by the appointment of a normalisation committee,” Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura wrote.

She ordered the immediate reinstatement of all the suspended FKF officials.

“I must highlight that the appointment of the so-called caretaker committee by your office is undoubtedly contrary to our principles, according to which all of our member associations, including FKF, are required to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence of any third parties,” Samoura wrote.

“The situation could, therefore, potentially lead to a suspension of the FKF by Fifa and, in such a case, it would be all of Kenyan football that would suffer the consequences.”

But Kenya’s Sports cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed insisted that  the government’s decision to disband the federation stood.

If Fifa imposes the ban as expected, it will not be the first time that Kenya has been sanctioned by the world football governing body.

Fifa suspended Kenya from all football activities for three months in 2004 due to the interference by government in football activities. The ban was reversed after the country agreed to create new statutes.

Two years later, they were suspended again for failing to fulfil the agreement. It was only lifted after the country complied.

Follow Henry on Twitter@henrymhara

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