Relief For Footballers, Fans As FIFA Lifts Ban On Zimbabwe

FIFA on Monday lifted Zimbabwe’s suspension from international football which has been in place since February 22 last year.

The decision followed the Sports and Recreation Commission’s decision to lift its own suspension of the Felton Kamambo ZIFA executive, which led to the ban.

FIFA said on June 20, 2023, it received communication from the SRC chaired by Gerald Mlotshwa that it had rescinded the suspension of the ZIFA board and also withdrawn as a complainant in a criminal matter against Kamambo and other executives.

FIFA, in a letter to ZIFA, however noted that the Kamambo executive’s four-year term ended in December 2022 and “from a legal point of view it is no longer possible for Kamambo, his fellow board members and general secretary Joseph Mamutse to resume their positions of leadership at ZIFA.”

In its place, FIFA said it was appointing a “normalisation committee which will consist of a suitable number of members who will be appointed by FIFA and CAF.”

The duties of the committee will include running ZIFA’s daily affairs, restructuring the ZIFA administration, reviewing ZIFA statutes and electoral code to ensure compliance with FIFA statutes and to act as an electoral committee in order to organise and conduct new ZIFA board elections and ensure proper financial handover.

FIFA also tasked the committee to collaborate with the sports ministry and the SRC to investigate sexual harassment allegations against some former ZIFA executives.

The committee’s mandate will expire when it has fulfilled the duties assigned, but by June 30, 2024, at the latest.

FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura also ordered a forensic audit of ZIFA’s books, while revealing that cash for the football governing body’s operations will be released in monthly instalments upon receipt of a budget and monthly reports.

The lifting of Zimbabwe’s suspension means the country will be in the hat for the 2026 World Cup draw on Wednesday. The draw for African qualifiers will take place in Cotonou, Benin, a night before the 45th CAF Ordinary General Assembly. ZimLive

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