ZIFA will continue with their plans of setting up a National First Division this year despite attempts from all Division One regions to block the formation of the league.
The proposed division would feed the Castle Lager Premiership, while the existing regional leagues would then continue as third-tier leagues, feeding the national league in a promotion-relegation system.
The regions, through their respective chairpersons, unanimously rejected the plans last week, arguing that the ZIFA executive committee does not have the constitutional powers to make such a decision outside the ZIFA Congress.
“As the leadership of the Regional Leagues and in consultation with our respective clubs, we note with concern the apparent breach of the ZIFA constitution in the manner in which you seek to admit the National League as a member,” the chairmen said in letter to the FA.
The letter continued: “There can never be any logical reason why we may want to rupture all contractual obligations which teams in the lower leagues may have entered into, be it with players or sponsors. We have teams that signed players on the basis that they will be playing Division One Football. We had teams which have signed up with sponsors and drawn up budgets for regional division one football, all this and many more other factors have to be evaluated for the good of our game.”
However, following an EXCO meeting on Friday, ZIFA decided to ignore the attempts to block the national league and revealed that they will form it this year.
The FA said in a statement: “As per the resolution of the Exco, the Association will go ahead with the National League starting in the 2023 season. While we are conscious of the concerns of some of our members, the Executive Committee will engage everyone and address their concerns.
“The interim Executive Committee of the National League will be made up of regional committee members. Each region will second two members to the interim committee.”