SPORTS and Recreation Commission (SRC) chairman Gerald Mlothswa insists that the country’s sports regulator will not reverse its decision to suspend the ZIFA board despite the move attracting a ban by the world football governing body FIFA.
FIFA banned Zimbabwe from international football for alleged government interference in the running of the domestic game on Thursday.
The ban comes after the SRC suspended the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA administration over several charges that include failure to account for public funds and sexual abuse of female referees.
While FIFA maintain that a ban on Zimbabwean football will remain in place until the SRC reinstates the ZIFA board, Mlotshwa in a strongly worded statement on Friday that his board stands by its decision, while accusing the world football governing body of double standards.
In essence, it appears that FIFA is constrained by the provisions of its own statutes to protect certain of the undoubted sexual predators, fraudsters and corrupt administrators at the helm of football administration in Zimbabwe. All this in the name of shielding ZIFA from, to quote FIFA in its letter “… undue interference from a third party,” Mlotshwa said.
“It is a fact that some of these administrators are facing, inter alia, charges of sexual harassment, bribery, fraud and general corruption before Zimbabwe’s Courts. FIFA has the full details of these matters.
“It is clear that FIFA has interpreted these very serious charges as ‘mere allegations’, notwithstanding its “…zero tolerance policy towards corruption, sexual abuse and any other unethical conduct.”
Mlotshwa, who is the son in law of President Emmerson Mnangagwa accused both FIFA and CAF for failing to act decisively on the allegations of sexual harassment of female referees by some senior ZIFA officials.
“Both FIFA and CAF are fully aware of an insidious culture of sexual harassment perpetrated against female football referees in Zimbabwe. For the eighteen months lapsed since these allegations were brought to their respective attention, neither body has initiated any tangible investigation focused on culprits whose names are known to them.”
He added: “The instances of fraud and corruption within the corridors of ZIFA have also been brought to the attention of FIFA, who have placed on record their extreme reluctance to involve themselves in remedying this deplorable state of affairs. The SRC has a documented and demonstrable “zero tolerance policy towards corruption, sexual abuse and any other unethical conduct” in the administration of sport in Zimbabwe. It does not pay mere lip service to the same.
“We, at the SRC, act decisively within the confines of the laws of Zimbabwe, in particular the Sports & Recreation Commission Act, as well as the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.
“FIFA statutes are not a part of the laws of Zimbabwe. Conversely, ZIFA, and indeed all other national sports associations in the country, are subject to the laws of Zimbabwe. It is for this reason that they, and their respective constitutions, are registered with the SRC.
“FIFA recognises ZIFA as the sole governing body for football administration in Zimbabwe by virtue of its registration with the SRC. It is on this basis that it is admitted as a member of the ‘FIFA Family’ by FIFA.
Mlotshwa added that the SRC will hold a press conference on Monday.