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Cuthbert Dube row, FIFA threatens Zimbabwe ban

Under fire ... ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube and chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze

01/02/2015 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter
Suspension threat ... FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke

SOCCER world governing body FIFA has threatened to suspend Zimbabwe if the government carries through plans to fire ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube and disband the rest of his management team.

Dube was fired from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the government-run PSMAS medical aid scheme over allegations of corruption and incompetence.

And, in a campaign backed by the state media, the government, through deputy sports minister Tabetha Kenengoni-Malinga has demanded that he resign from ZIFA accusing him of failing to run the national game.

The deputy minister warned Dube not to underestimate her.

“If Cuthbert and (ZIFA CEO Jonathan) Mashingaidze really love football so much there is need to heed the call by the people. I don’t want them to look down upon me as a female leader because I am very capable,” said the deputy minister

“It’s a matter of having the right people in the right place, people willing to go an extra mile.

“Here we are talking of a football leader who was on many boards but was fired because of embezzlement of funds. We just want the right people in the right place.

“If Cuthbert really loves football he must do the right thing, he must step down, he must resign.”

Taking the fight to ZIFA ... Deputy sports minister Tabetha Kenengoni-Malinga

However, in a letter to ZIFA at the weekend, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke made it clear that Zimbabwe would be banned from its activities if Dube and his leadership team were fired.

FIFA suspension

“We have learnt from media reports that the Zimbabwean authorities have supposedly discussed the possibility to disband the board of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA),” wrote Valcke.

“Should the allegations prove to be true, we would like to remind you that according to articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA statutes, ZIFA has to manage its affairs independently and with no influence by any third parties.

“Failure to do so would be considered as a violation of the FIFA statutes 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.


“Lastly, a suspension would mean that all FIFA member associations would not entertain sporting contacts with ZIFA and that ZIFA would not benefit from any program or financial assistance from Fifa and CAF.”

ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said they would take the letter to sports minister Andrew Langa.

“Fifa want a report from ZIFA on what is going on because they picked the issue from the media reports and they also want us to officially advise the authorities of the Fifa position on the matter,” he said.

“So the ZIFA president will take the letter to the Minister. It must be remembered that the last time that the country was ostracised from international football was in 1965 in the Rhodesia era when the country failed to comply with FIFA demands for non-racial discrimination in football.

“In this case we will be inviting sanctions on ourselves if FIFA were to ban Zimbabwe.’’

However, Kanengoni-Malinga told a press conference last week that the government was ready to risk FIFA suspension in order to clear the “mess” at ZIFA.

“In terms of Fifa regulations, we should not be seen interfering. Our view as Government is that it is better that we are suspended as a country as we clean up the mess at ZIFA,” she said.

“When we complete serving the suspension, we will return to international football at a time when we would have strengthened our systems.

“We will not be the first country to be suspended; that has been done to other countries after they felt that it was better to intervene to strengthen their football.”

Dube says the problems at ZIFA are worsened by lack of funding which has forced him to use his own resources to support national teams in the past.

No success under Cuthbert Dube ... Zimbabwe player dejected after Afcon agony

Financial problems

But Kanengoni-Malinga is not convinced.

“I am glad Cuthbert mentioned there is a problem in Zifa, he is not denying which shows I was justified,” she said.

“The issue to do with lack of funding while understandable, we can’t say there has been full funding but it’s not a case where there is zero funding.

“Zifa get funding from Fifa; they get US$250 000. Last year we also funded CHAN in support of the team and have assisted where we can financially.

“My problem is the management issue, wherever we have scarce resources they must be managed carefully.

“There are many associations facing financial challenges, this is not just about sport it’s a problem across all sectors but wherever we have the right people in the right place running things well then the issue we talk about is management issue.

“This is not the case with football. We have been trying through SRC to get Zifa to give us some documents, what they are owed and what they owe, what is their strategic plan but they have not.”

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