Zifa yet to respond to Fifa

ZIFA is working on a response to world football body Fifa following threats by Sport, Arts and Culture deputy minister Tabetha Kanengoni Malinga to dissolve the Cuthbert Dube-led executive.

THANDIWE MOYO
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

Although calls have been getting louder for Zifa president Dube to step down, Fifa Southern and Eastern region development officer Ashford Mamelodi said they had not received any correspondence from Zifa.

“No, we have not received anything from Zifa,” said Mamelodi yesterday in a telephone interview from Gaborone, Botswana.

“Everything that we know about this we got from media reports. We also know that there was a response from the secretary-general (Jerome Valcke). All correspondence comes from Zurich.”

This is despite claims in one of the local dailies that Zifa had written to Fifa ahead of last Saturday’s meeting with the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) seeking protection from government threats.

It has, however, emerged that the letter is fictitious and could have been generated by a former journalist who sold the dummy to the local paper.

The paper has, however, failed to reproduce the letter, like they have been doing in the past claiming to protect their sources, raising further suspicions that the letter was fake.

“Zifa has been asked to respond to the letter and it is likely that they have responded,” said Mamelodi yesterday.

Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said yesterday they were working on the response.

“We are currently working on the response,” he said.

Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke

Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke

The letter that Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke wrote on Saturday read: “We have learnt from media reports that the Zimbabwean authorities have supposedly discussed the possibility to disband the board of the Zimbabwe Football Association.

“Should the allegations be proven true we would like to remind you that (according to) articles 13 and 17 of Fifa statues, Zifa has to manage football affairs without influence of any third parties.

“Failure to do so would be considered violation of Fifa statues and Zifa would be subject to sanctions, including a suspension. In addition, the suspension would only be lifted once the status quo would be restored.

He added: “A suspension would mean that all Fifa member associations would not maintain sporting contacts with Zifa and that Zifa would not benefit from any programme or financial assistance from Caf or Fifa.

“We thank you to inform the interested parties accordingly and to provide us with a report on the situation as soon as possible.”

This clearly shows that no letter had been sent to Fifa by Zifa.

As the fighting continues at 53 Livingstone Avenue in Harare, Mashingaidze has defended himself over the purported letter he wrote to Fifa.

“We are still waiting for a response from the paper,” he said.

“We know that there are people who forge signatures and that is probably what they have done. There is a rumour that I was calling the deputy minister all sorts of names at the SRC meeting. If this was true the SRC would have dealt with it.”

Last week, a day before the meeting with the SRC, Fifa said they were monitoring the situation at Zifa following media reports and yesterday said they would not comment at this stage, probably waiting to receive the Zifa letter or the government to disband the national association.

In the fictitious letter, Mashingaidze is alleged to have branded the deputy minister “ignorant and misguided”, but responding to questions in Parliament on Wednesday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said they would not take action against the chief executive officer or Zifa.

“My understanding Cde Speaker, as far as I am aware, Fifa laws and policy is that we should not interfere with Zifa affairs,” he said.

“I think that is their policy, so you are raising what has been said by a Zifa official over whom we have no jurisdiction.

“Yes, we have no jurisdiction over a Zifa official. If this official was from the Sport ministry, then I would respond to it.”

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