HomeEditorial CommentSuspension of Zifa board ill-advised

Suspension of Zifa board ill-advised

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WHILE it is true that human beings, unlike pigeons, have the intrinsic capacity to do wrong and, therefore, needs some form of regulation, it is important to point out that such interventions must not reverse gains already made.

Such actions must, in the end, not stifle development in any way. If they do, then it becomes counter-productive. The events in Zimbabwean football this week, which saw the entire Zifa board being suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), highlighted the deep-seated problems in the national game.

SRC dissolved the entire Zifa leadership led by Felton Kamambo and wants to replace it with a normalisation committee that will be tasked to run the affairs of the association pending the holding of elections. While their intentions might be in the national interest to reposition the national game beset by problems for several decades, it’s clear the sports regulating body is in violation of world soccer governing body Fifa statutes.

Article 14 of the Fifa statutes stipulate that member associations must manage their affairs independently without undue influence from third parties. To make matters worse, a little over a year ago, SRC wrote to Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura requesting authority to invoke its powers and remove the Zifa leadership and replace it with a normalisation committee that would run the affairs of the association until elections are held.

However Fifa trashed the request saying conditions prevailing in Zimbabwean football at the time didn’t warrant such action. Had SRC done that, Fifa said it would have been deemed to be interference in the affairs of the association.

“In this context, we must remind you about the contents of article 14 paragraph let(1) and article 19 paragraph (1) of the Fifa statutes which stipulates that member associations are obliged to manage their affairs independently without undue influence from third parties,” Fifa wrote then.

Now the vexing question is what has changed to warrant SRC to invoke those powers to dissolve the entire Zifa board? What has motivated SRC to act the way it did this time around? Does it have justification for its actions? If it does, what evidence does it have of alleged mismanagement of funds?

To make matters worse, SRC is not consistent as it keeps changing the charge sheet. Initially, it raised several allegations against Zifa leaders, but on Thursday, it said it had dropped other allegations and zeroed in on the issue of mismanagement of funds.

Clearly, this raises serious questions about SRC’s sincerity in the whole issue. Is it doing this out of national interest or it is just pursuing petty fights that will derail development of the game in the country and alienate it further from the corporate world. It is our hope the SRC’s intervention will not stifle the development of the national game and take it several steps backwards.

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