THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) legal advisor, Chenaimoyo Gumiro has sensationally claimed that the suspension of the board by the Sports and Recreation Commission “is a legal nullity and nothing more than a merry-go-round scenario”.
The SRC on Tuesday dissolved the Zifa board based on a cocktail of allegations, including abuse of public funds, incompetence, failure to adhere to Covid-19 protocols when sending national teams outside the country as well as failure to address the gender imbalances relating to the treatment of female national teams when compared to their male counterparts.
The commission then withdrew the suspension letter, only to issue another one that zeroed in on four allegations relating to failure to account for proceeds from the Warrior’s Africa Cup of Nations participation in 2019.
Gumiro told this Post Sport yesterday that the dissolution of the Zifa board is a legal nullity.
“Zifa was served with suspension letter on Tuesday, and it was withdrawn. The latest suspension only has fours grounds relating the 2019 Afcon. Basically they have removed all other allegations. They have zeroed in on the Afcon 2019.
“This is a legal nullity. They do not have the authority to suspend the board in the manner they did. In terms of the SRC Act, the commission can only suspend the Zifa board for committing acts contrary to national interests, and that decision can only be reached after the executive committee has been given a chance to respond.
“SRC in this case is the complainant, prosecutor and judge. Even a layman will tell you that the way they are handling this matter is not legally proper. There are serious ramifications that will come with the decision. They say they are prepared for it, but we are not sure if they understand the dynamics that will obviously come into play.
“To us this is just a merry-go-round scenario because if we are booted out of the family of football playing nations, we can only be readmitted if the same suspended executive committee is restored.
“So there is really no use of suspending or dissolving an executive committee under the pretext of solving problems when you know you will be asked to restore the same before being readmitted,” said Gumiro.
Gumiro said the no-show by referees during Premier Soccer League matches on Tuesday was not Zifa’s fault.
“Referees were not withdrawn by Zifa. What happened is that we were informed verbally by the SRC chairman that the board had been suspended, we had no power to do anything.
Bryton Malandude, the Zifa board member who also doubles as the chairman for the referees committee could not do the normal referees coordination duty since he had been suspended.
“The suspension paralysed the coordination of referees activities. There is no way he was going to coordinate appointment of referees after he had been suspended.
If he had done that they would have charged him for defying the suspension by SRC. Our thinking was that when they suspended the board they already had made contingency measures to ensure smooth flow of administrative activities,” said Gumiro.
However, the SRC decision will likely invite sanctions from Fifa and Caf, which could mean a ban for Zimbabwe from participating in international tournaments.
Of immediate concern to many is the likelihood of the Warriors losing their place at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon, in January next year.
Fifa takes exception to Government interference in football matters because it feels that member nations should be free to run their own affairs.
Zifa said it had already written to Fifa and Caf, who promised to respond next week.