Hands off ZIFA, FIFA tell SRC

ZIMBABWE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has been left with egg on the face after its request for FIFA to appoint a normalisation committee for the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) over allegations of financial mismanagement was Thursday shot down by the world football governing body.

The quasi-goverment body had formally called for the removal from office of the entire ZIFA executive committee led by its president Felton Kamambo and replace it with a normalisation committee.

The SRC added it had reserved its right, in terms of the same correspondence, to act in terms of Section 30 of the SRC Act and suspend the entire board itself.

However, in a letter to the SRC board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa copied to CAF and ZIFA, FIFA Deputy Secretary General Alasdair Bell stressed that member associations are obliged to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties. 

Bell added from FIFA’s independent audits ZIFA were not at fault of any wrongdoing and any action taken by SRC to intervene would be seen as goverment interefence which would result in ZIFA being banned. 

At the outset we would like to underline that FIFA encourages close cooperative relations between its member associations and national governments,” Bell wrote. 

“In addition, we expect our member associations to be fully accountable for and, if required, submit to the authorities all relevant information regarding the use of public funds, if any are provided, in line with the pertinent national legislation.”

FIFA said regarding funding provided by the governing body every member association receiving FIFA Forward development funds, including ZIFA, is subject to rigorous controls in the use of these funds. 

This includes an annual central audit review which is undertaken by an independent professional auditor appointed by FIFA. 
Adverse findings noted by the auditors are reported to the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee and may result in a restriction or even suspension of funding, FIFA said.

Furthermore, in the event of any suspicion of the misuse of funds, the matter is referred to the competent FIFA judicial body,” Bell said. 
“As a consequence of the above, we deem that the conditions for setting up a normalisation committee for ZIFA in line with art. 8 par. 2 of the FIFA Statutes are not fulfilled.”

FIFA reminded the SRC of the contents of art. 14 par. 1 let. i) and art. 19 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes, which stipulate that all member associations are obliged to manage their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties. 

“Therefore, should the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts & Recreation of Zimbabwe, upon recommendation of the Sports and Recreation Committee (SRC), decide to appoint an interim committee to administer the affairs of ZIFA, it would be considered undue influence in the sense of the FIFA Statutes,” Bell wrote, adding:“Consequently, the matter would be presented to the relevant FIFA bodies for consideration and possible action, which may include the suspension of ZIFA.

FIFA said it is engaged in assisting ZIFA with its debt servicing strategy and remain at the authorities’ disposal to discuss, if possible, joint efforts to address ZIFA’s current financial situation.

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