The Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry says the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has been in constant communication with CAF and FIFA over the past two years to resolve the various challenges bedevilling local football.
In a statement, Coventry said the SRC wanted to respect the sovereign laws of Zimbabwe while at the same time respecting CAF and FIFA statutes.
She said after nearly two years of communication, there has been no change on the part of the ZIFA board.
On the contrary, the ZIFA board are still in and out of court fighting charges of corruption, bribery, and now new allegations and cases of sexual harassment and abuse of power.
Earlier this week, FIFA banned Zimbabwe and demanded an immediate reversal of the SRC suspension of the Felton Kamambo led ZIFA board.
In a statement on Thursday, 24 February, FIFA said Zimbabwe had lost the membership rights that include developmental programmes or training from it or continental football management body CAF.
The ban also bars football clubs from representing the country in continental competitions such as the CAF champions league and CAF confederations cup.
Coventry said the decision to suspend the ZIFA board was not taken lightly but was done for the love of the game. She said:
When we received these allegations of sexual harassment and abuse last year and found out that nothing had been done to protect the women, it was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
This is what lead to the suspension of the ZIFA Board and Secretary-General.
…. We knew that it might come at a cost, and we are willing to take that risk because sometimes we have to fight for the voiceless, the vulnerable and the powerless.
We will stand next to these strong brave women who have come forward.
We will stand next to our athletes and ensure they have the right opportunities to drive their sport forward.
We will do anything to ensure this sport we all so dearly love is protected and is taken to new heights.
We want to find a way forward with CAF and FIFA, that allows for us as Zimbabwe to thrive as a football nation.
Coventry said that while FIFA and CAF uphold their own statutes, the SRC must do its job to protect and serve the country’s athletes.
She asserted that the SRC will not reinstate alleged sexual predators and individuals fighting legal court cases.