‘FIFA’s position on Zimbabwe still the same’

FIFA’s position on the suspension imposed on Zimbabwe is still the same despite the world governing body sending a delegation to the country in April, Soccer24 has established.

Zimbabwe was suspended by FIFA for ‘third party interference’ in February last year, after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA administration.

The Kamambo-led executive was accused of failure to account for public funds and sexual harassment of female referees, among a myriad of allegations.

FIFA have repeatedly said the suspension can only be lifted upon the unconditional reinstatement the Kamambo-led board.

In April this year, FIFA sent a six member delegation to Zimbabwe, led by Zimbabwean Solomon Mudege, who is the world governing body’s head of development programmes in Africa —on a fact finding mission aimed to trying to end the impasse.

The delegation met with the ousted ZIFA executive, current administration led by acting president Gift Banda, the Gerald Mlotshwa-led SRC, officials from the Premier Soccer League (PSL), representatives from the Women’s league, as well as the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ).

While the general consensus among football stakeholders was that the FIFA delegation would budge on their earlier stance and apoint a normalization committee which would usher in a new era in Zimbabwean football, a well-placed source who was part of the discussions said nothing has changed as far as what FIFA wants is concerned.

“The position of FIFA regarding the suspension of Zimbabwe has not changed. They simply came so that they could try and convince everyone that the solution is to reinstatement the president (Kamambo) and his executive,” said the source.

“FIFA sent a delegation because they believed discussions in person would have a better result, unlike those done over the phone or through email.

“The FIFA delegation even said it won’t take 24 hours for Zimbabwe to be back in the international football community once the Kamambo-led administration has been reinstated,” added the source.

The source dismissed any possibility of there being a normalization committee,  as was the case in Pakistan, saying the world governing body would be setting a bad precedence.

“FIFA cannot put a normalisation committee in place every time a member association is suspended. They would be setting a bad precedence,” explained the source.

“It’s also naive to believe that FIFA will release a statement on the findings of the delegation.  FIFA’s position has been the same from the onset and it still is now, so there is nothing to update. We are the ones who are just expected to do what they have repeatedly said then they act.”

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