Statement by the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) board on the FIFA statement calling for the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to reinstate the suspended ZIFA board.
ZIFA BOARD’S COMMENTS ON RECENT FIFA COMMUNICATION AND FINDINGS
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) executive committee would like to inform the entire nation and football-loving stakeholders that following the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) statement of Dec 21 2021, the board is ready to continue executing its elected mandate to govern football in Zimbabwe till the lapse
rm of office.
The ZIFA board believes the FIFA decision did among other things, vindicate the ZIFA Executive committee of any wrongdoing contrary to allegations by the SRC in its several publications and given as reasons for them to
suspend the board.
The board, therefore, reiterates that as was correctly found by FIFA after its intensive engagements and fact-finding with both ZIFA and SRC in the past 4 weeks, no shred of evidence was found or advanced by the SRC to substantiate their numerous allegations which at best are just a witch hunt, persecution and 3rd party interference under the guise of cleansing football.
To this day, the ZIFA executive committee has been exonerated by several courts in Zimbabwe and most recently by FIFA on these frivolous and malicious allegations from the SRC.
The ZIFA executive committee, therefore, reiterates its commitment for normalcy to return and has no desire for any negative consequences on our football such as banishment of Zimbabwe from football activities but also firmly believes that its reputation which was unfairly tainted by false SRC allegations must be restored.
The board reiterates its earlier consistent and proven position that it never abused any public funds nor did it fail to account for any as the entire USD$53 000 from the SRC was fully accounted for and acquitted to them in 2019.
No mismanagement of funds took place at ZIFA and our clean audits from both statutory and FIFA central review are testimony.
No abuse of female referees was promoted or defended by the board and the two complaints that came to ZIFA were duly handed over to the independent ZIFA judicial committee as is expected and best practice.
No failure on junior football development by ZIFA can be substantiated as evidence on the ground clearly shows preparedness for the launch of same and several leagues could have started since 2020 had it not been for the suspension of football for the past 2 years due to COVID-19.
No constitutional crisis was created by ZIFA since ZIFA has a constitution which it inherited from the previous council and was seized with the review of same under guidance from FIFA, never mind written instructions from SRC to halt the process in May 2020.
The ZIFA executive committee, therefore, wonders why our media which should help interrogate these matters have up to now not bothered to request the SRC for any evidence to their false allegations instead of choosing to just blindly follow the unfounded SRC rhetoric whose intentions are clearly something else other than assisting football development.
It is telling that even FIFA asked for evidence to back up the allegations and got none from SRC. ZIFA has been asking for evidence from SRC and still got nothing.
Up to this day, nothing close to evidence has been publicly shared by the SRC except mere naked defamatory allegations against the ZIFA executive committee, council and members.
The executive committee of ZIFA now publicly begs the powers that be in our beautiful nation to intervene and save our football from this SRC intrusion based on the wrong interpretation of the SRC Act, against natural justice laws and whose effects can only be dire.
There is no progress that can come out of the current onslaught on football by the SRC backed by some compromised and soiled stakeholders who believe football must only be supported only with them at the helm.
Further, the board has resolved to now publish a dossier titled the “untold story ZIFA and SRC” where all behind the scenes shenanigans by the SRC and its advisors shall be exposed and evidence with regards to SRC allegations shall be shared to prove the board’s innocence in the absence of the SRC’s own.
The board knows the importance of football in our economy and how it relates to the lives of the so many that live off it.
It will therefore be a miscarriage of justice for well-meaning Zimbabweans who love and or survive on football to be denied their game by a few in the SRC whose motive is something else that is far away from the development of the game.
That the SRC would decide to evade a meeting with FIFA is telling of an entity which is bereft of any evidence to their allegations but only pursuing a vindictive agenda.
That the entire nation up to this day has just been served with mere allegations without any iota of proof is testimony that this is just witch-hunting and vengeance on the part of the few in the SRC board.
The executive committee believes higher well-meaning offices were misled by the SRC into believing that ZIFA is guilty of allegations raised by the SRC.
The executive committee now calls upon those offices to check for themselves and even directly from ZIFA if at all any of those allegations can pass any objective test.
The ZIFA Board, therefore, calls for an open inquiry into the conduct, motive, and calls upon those offices to check for themselves and even directly from ZIFA if at all any of those allegations can pass any objective test.
The ZIFA Board, therefore, calls for an open inquiry into the conduct, motive, and decisions of this current SRC board which it believes is anti-development and has acted against national interest.
Its actions are tantamount to deliberate sabotage of the sport, persecution of individuals within ZIFA by some individuals within SRC confusion creation and a display of ineptitude in the regulation of sport in our country.
The ZIFA Board therefore sincerely calls on our government not to be misled by the SRC board and urges them to help the nation evade these potential but unnecessary and avoidable sanctions on our beloved game which are being invited by the SRC.
We call for urgent intervention by the government to stop this SRC sojourn to destruction on a premise which under any circumstances cannot be factually, objectively and legally justified.
The ZIFA board is saddened by the unwavering bloodthirsty actions of the SRC to illegally dissipate lawful football structures where they are already angling on punishing ZIFA delegates on the basis of matters that are currently before the courts at the behest of current SRC chairman Gerald Mlothswa and former ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa.
That the SRC can ignore court acquittals to these delegates is clear evidence of how desperate they are to destroy football in Zimbabwe.
The SRC has wantonly violated, in recent days, their own Act. They have illegally usurped legislative powers by creating their own laws, misinterpreted simple and very clear existing laws, disregarded existing laws in their quest to punish football, refused to partake in a meeting with FIFA and failed to provide evidence on any of their allegations.
Desperate efforts to sway public opinion on an otherwise rational decision by FIFA through suggesting that FIFA supports unlawful practices such as abuse of public funds and sexual abuse of female referees make for sad reading and must therefore be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.
The question every objective person must be asking and demanding answers to is why the SRC has not reported to the police such transgressions which are clearly criminal in terms of Zimbabwean laws.
Instead, they are blaming FIFA for alleged crimes that if they were committed, would be effectively dealt with by the local justice system. Why allow SRC to give credence to their unsubstantiated allegations?
The detailed document on SRC shenanigans will be shared with the senior government offices, media and the public together with annexures before the 31st of December 2021.
The ZIFA board has been informed by some that they must just accept the illegal suspension and move on since defending themselves or clearing their names is an act of fighting the government.
Further, the ZIFA executive committee is well aware of the false gospel being peddled that the suspensions have blessings from the highest office in the land and therefore contesting same is fighting the highest office in the land.
The ZIFA executive committee would however like to set the record straight, that it is in no way fighting the government. Neither is it fighting the highest office in the land.
The ZIFA board respects the government and the country’s leadership and has never acted in ways that suggest otherwise.
The latest attempt to play the ZIFA board against the powers that be are therefore only desperate efforts by the SRC and its band of “advisors” to solicit support from the government on their indefensible acts.
The board is also willing to present itself any day to any government office to show evidence of its innocence and hope the SRC can avail its own proof too including that it has been the best ZIFA board so far in more than 30 years of our football.
The board is very clear that Mr Mlothswa and his fellow board members are not the government, and that opposing their faulty decisions is therefore not fighting the government, but legally defending its reputation that is being shattered.
The ZIFA board believes that if allowed to continue, SRC’s actions have an effect of soiling the country and its leadership’s image. The SRC must be stopped for the good of our country.
The ZIFA board shall therefore not tire in proving its innocence and in the same token prove the clear malicious act of the SRC.
The ZIFA Executive committee maintains that the SRC board members know the truth but are choosing to lie for ulterior motives.
The board will therefore not be silenced by threats that legally defending their rights against the SRC board is fighting government because our laws allow for legal defences against any allegations.
The ZIFA board now publicly requests for a commission of inquiry to investigate the SRC and is convinced that if investigated objectively Mr Mlothswa and his cohorts will easily be found guilty of many transgressions, chief among them abuse of office, name dropping, corruption acting contrary to their governing Act, usurping the law-making role, contempt of court and making several false police reports, illegally forcing law enforcement agencies to take up cases which would have been thrown out using the SRC chairman’s influence and power among many.
The evidence is there for all to see that the SRC respects no one and no laws. It is a fact that FIFA was objective in its findings, and any objective institution, our government included, would come out with the same conclusions if given facts by the two parties the SRC and ZIFA.
We urge our government to request from both SRC and ZIFA, proof and submissions on the subject matter. We are certain that SRC will be found offside. Our football deserves better and so does sport across the divide.