Mlotshwa scoffs at Fifa ban

Gerald Mlotshwa

Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) chairman Gerald Mlotshwa says he is unfazed by the extension of Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Fifa family after the world governing body’s congress yesterday voted to keep the country sidelined from international football activity.

Zimbabwe was first suspended in February last year over government interference in Zifa affairs after the SRC dismissed the Zifa board led by Felton Kamambo.

Fifa demanded the reinstatement of the board, but the SRC locked the members out accusing them of a number of misdemeanors, key among them, the abuse of funds.

The commission has failed to sustain its allegations in a court of law.

It has insisted on a roadmap that will culminate in new Zifa elections after the establishment of a new constitution.

Yesterday, 199 Fifa members voted to keep Zimbabwe on suspension while one member was pro lifting of the ban.

Fifa said that since the Zimbabwe FA had not fulfilled the request to lift the suspension of the elected board members, which violates Fifa statutes, it recommended once again that the suspension be reinstated.

The congress also voted 197 votes for the suspension of the Sri Lanka Football Federation.

Commenting on the latest development, Mlotshwa said nothing had changed since Zifa had not asked to be reinstated into the Fifa family.

“There’s nothing new here.  Neither SRC or to the best of my knowledge Zifa have approached Fifa to lift the suspension of Zimbabwe’s membership,” he said, insisting that they were focused on reforms.

“The focus is on reforms.  Our conversations with Fifa are centered on reforms and not the lifting of Zifa’s suspension.  No such formal request has been made yet. And no such formal request will be made until Zifa and SRC have agreed to the roadmap we have made previous reference to.  That’s where our focus is and should be. It’s as simple as that.”

A couple of weeks ago, Mlotshwa said Kamambo and crew owed the nation an apology for failing to inform Fifa that they were no longer in charge of Zifa.

Football stakeholders have been clamouring for the SRC to reinstate Kamambo, Philemon Machana and Bryton Malandule as has been demanded by Fifa, but Mlotshwa said the sports supreme body can longer do that.

He said the SRC was no longer in any position to legally reinstate Kamambo since he was recalled by the Zifa congress and the former Zifa boss is supposed to be patriotic enough to communicate the development to Fifa.

“It is a fact that Felton Kamambo is no longer the Zifa president, having been recalled by his own congress. It follows, logically, that the SRC is not able to reinstate him to that position. Any such attempt would, ironically, be blatantly unlawful in terms of Zifa’s current constitution as well as the Sports and Recreation Commission Act,” Mlothswa said.

“It is most regrettable that certain legislators continue to demand that the SRC ignore the resolutions of the Zifa congress, violate Zifa’s constitution, and, incredibly, its own Act, a product of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, in reinstating Kamambo.

“There is therefore no legal basis upon which Zifa or indeed the SRC can request Kamambo and Joseph Mamutse to correspond with Fifa, nor can the latter organisation, in light of its views on the outcome of the EGM of April, 2022, demand the same of those persons.”

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