Fifa delegation heads to Zimbabwe

Solomon Mudege, who is Fifa's head of development programmes Africa,

ZIMBABWE could finally be set for an imminent return to international football after Fifa decided to send a delegation on a fact -finding mission as well as meeting the local sports regulator, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) starting tomorrow.

The meeting between the SRC and Fifa could culminate in the appointment of a normalisation committee to run the affairs of Zifa in the lead-up to fresh elections and ultimately the lifting of the suspension by the world football body.

Fifa suspended Zimbabwe’s membership from the international football family in February last year for government interference after the SRC suspended the Zifa board over a myriad of transgressions.

The global football govering body is expected to be in the country for three days in which they will also meet the SRC, the Premier Soccer League clubs, representatives from the Footballers' Union of Zimbabwe and other key stakeholders, in a bid to gather facts on the ground and also find a lasting solution to problems bedevilling the country’s football.

The delegation includes Zimbabwean Solomon Mudege, who is Fifa's head of development programmes Africa, Fifa's regional development officer David Fani, who is a former president of the Botswana Football Association.

Sarah Solémalé, who is the senior governance service manager at the global football governing body is also expected to be part of the delegation while the continetal football governing body, Caf is also expected to send representatives for the fact -finding mission.

While StandardSport was unable to get a comment from both Fifa and and the SRC, sources revealed that the delegation was coming at the invitation of the the local sports regulatory body.

Fifa's decision to accept SRC's invitation comes after suspended members of the Zifa board recently claimed that the world football governing body had refused to engage the commission.

StandardSport also understands Fifa has warmed up to the idea of appointing a normalisation committee.

“Fifa accepted SRC’s invitation to come on a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe after which recommendations would be made to the Fifa Council to lift Zifa’s suspension and install a normalisation committee. In the last zoom meeting involving Fifa, Caf, and the SRC, Fifa agreed that a normalisation committee should be appointed to run the affairs of Zifa,” said the source.

“It was also agreed that legally no one is in office at Zifa since their terms of office have all expired. An executive would need to be appointed to implement the reforms contained in the roadmap.  SRC insisted that Fifa lead that process and Fifa  agreed,” the source added.

It should be noted that PSL clubs are the only members of the 62 meber Zifa Council who legally exist while the terms of all the other members have already run out.

The Zifa executive committee, which is elected at an elective congress, only exists during the subsistence of the congress that elected them.

According to the constitution the Zifa Council failed to renew its membership by an election.

Zimbabwe’s international ban has heavily affected footballers and clubs who have had to miss out on international competitions.

In the past year Zimbabwe has been barred from participating in the 2023 Afcon qualifiers, 2022 Cosafa Cup, Chan 2022, 2022 Cosafa Under-20 Youth Champions and Women’s Champions League qualifiers, among other continental club events.

The new development is certain to ignite the country’s hopes of participating in the 2026 Men’s World Cup qualifiers.

A normalisation committee usually consists of members appointed jointly by Fifa and Caf subject to an eligibility check carried out by the Fifa review committee in accordance with the Fifa Governance Regulations.

The normalisation committee will serve as an electoral committee and none of its members will be eligible for the positions to be filled during the elections under any circumstances.


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