Fifa probe Zifa board member

Minister of Sports Kirsty Coventry

Minister of Sports Kirsty Coventry has revealed that a second Zifa official is being investigated by Fifa over sexual harassment following former referees boss Obert Zhoya’s five year ban imposed last year.

Zhoya was found guilty of sexually harassing three female referees following a Fifa probe. In addition to the ban, he was fined $20 000.

On Wednesday Coventry faced an onslaught from parliamentarians over Zimbabwe’s ban from international football which was caused by government interference.

She said there was no way back for the Zifa board members that were dismissed by the SRC, who include Felton Kamambo, Bryton Malandule, Philemon Machana and Stanley Chapeta.

“For clarity, the reasons that the SRC stepped in and suspended the board were three main reasons. The first reason was that Government had given ZIFA about US$2 million that has never been accounted for,” she said.

“Secondly, four female referees have come forward and given their statements to police and they have been investigated. Three of those members were on the board. One of those members has already  received a lifetime ban from FIFA from their own investigations that have been done over the last two months with a S25 000 fine.

“FIFA is now investigating the second member that was on the board that was sexually abusing and harassing these women. FIFA knew that this was happening in 2018/19 when these women filed an appeal with FIFA and got no response. They then came to Government,  – SRC, Government and my office worked together with these women to ensure that police reports were done and statements were made. We then went back to FIFA and CAF and we requested for them to step in but they refused. We then stepped in and suspended the executive for the things that I have just shared with Members of Parliament, which I have shared previously.”

She said that they have accepted the ban and have not asked Fifa to lift it.

“We then stepped in and as you know, FIFA then stepped in afterwards to suspend us from international soccer. We accepted that. We have never asked them to lift it. We do not want them to lift it at this point until we have cleared and cleaned up our soccer.”

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