The suspended Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) board scored an own goal after violating a FIFA statute in their fight to overturn a ban imposed on them by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).
The administration of Felton Kamambo was suspended on 16 November by the SRC on several charges, chief among them failure to account for public funds.
ZIFA lawyers then filed an appeal at the Administrative Court two weeks ago as they sought to nullify the ban.
However, in doing so, the suspended board violated a FIFA statute which prohibits taking football matters to ordinary courts but, instead, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Article 58 of the FIFA Statutes 2021 reads:
1. The confederations, member associations and leagues shall agree to recognise CAS as an independent judicial authority and to ensure that their members, affiliated players and officials comply with the decisions passed by CAS. The same obligation shall apply to football agents and match agents that are licensed by FIFA.
2. Recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations. Recourse to ordinary courts of law for all types of provisional measures is also prohibited.
3. The associations shall insert a clause in their statutes or regulations, stipulating that it is prohibited to take disputes in the association or disputes affecting leagues, members of leagues, clubs, members of clubs, players, officials and other association officials to ordinary courts of law, unless the FIFA regulations or binding legal provisions specifically provide for or stipulate recourse to ordinary courts of law. Instead of recourse to ordinary courts of law, provision shall be made for arbitration. Such disputes shall be taken to an independent and duly constituted arbitration tribunal recognised under the rules of the association or confederation or to CAS.
The suspended board now risks further sanctions if it continues with the its appeal at the Administrative Court as FIFA never allowed them to do so when it approached the world football body over the issue.
FIFA gives the incumbent authority the power to ensure that this stipulation is implemented.
And SRC promised to appoint an interim board, and the administration can activate the clause and hit Kamambo and team with more punishment.
The court ruling will also be invalidated and will not put the suspended board back to work.