HARARE – World football governing body Fifa has warned Zimbabwe of an immediate ban from the game in the event that government interferes in the running of affairs at 53 Livingstone Avenue.

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STERN WARNING:  Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke has warned of an immediate suspension on Zimbabwe if government inteferes in affairs at Zifa

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In a letter to the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), Fifa is demanding a report from the local football governing body on the recent developments where government, through the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, has made it clear that it will act to clean up the mess at Zifa House.

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Last week Deputy Sports minister Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga told parliament that government was fed up with the situation at Zifa and was willing to risk Fifa sanctions to bring sanity to local football.

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However, in clear statement of intent, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said the world football governing body was monitoring the developments in Zimbabwe.

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“We have learnt from media reports that the Zimbabwean authorities have supposedly discussed the possibility to disband the board of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa),” Valcke said in his letter to Zifa.

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“We thank you to inform the interested parties accordingly and to provide us with a report on the situation as soon as possible,” he added.

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Valcke warned that should the allegations (that government is intervening in football matters) be true, the Fifa will not hesitate to ban Zimbabwe from all football related activities and any association with other Fifa member states as the country would have violated Fifa statutes.

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“Should the allegations prove to be true, we would like to remind you that according to articles 13 and 17 of the Fifa statutes, Zifa has to manage its affairs independently and with no influence by any third parties.

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“Lastly a suspension would mean that all Fifa member associations would not entertain sporting contacts with Zifa and that Zifa would not benefit from any program or financial assistance from Fifa and Caf,” said Valcke.

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The Fifa secretary general added that in the event that government succeeds in disbanding the Dube-led board, Zimbabwe’s suspension will only be lifted with the reinstatement of the current board.

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“Failure to do so would be considered as a violation of the Fifa statutes and Zifa would be subject to sanctions including a suspension. In addition the suspension would only be lifted once the status quo would be restored,” said Valcke.

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Zifa spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, said the local football mother body was compiling the report which is set to be sent to Fifa.

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“We are going to comply with the order and issue them (Fifa) the report and currently we are compiling the report and will be sending it to them tomorrow (today),” said Gwesela.

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Fifa articles 13 and 17 do not allow any interference of any sought from government and third parties.

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Article 13 reads: “Members’ obligations – 1. Members have the following obligations: a) to comply fully with the Statutes, regulations, directives and decisions of Fifa bodies at any time as well as the decisions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) passed on appeal on the basis of art. 66 par. 1 of the Fifa Statutes; b) to take part in competitions organised by Fifa; c) to pay their membership subscriptions; d) to ensure that their own members comply with the Statutes, regulations, directives and decisions of FIFA bodies; e) to create a Referees Committee that is directly subordinate to the Member; f) to respect the Laws of the Game.”

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Article 17 reads: “Independence of Members and their bodies – 1.Each Member shall manage its affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

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“2. A Member’s bodies shall be either elected or appointed in that Association. A Member’s statutes shall provide for a procedure that guarantees the complete independence of the election or appointment.

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“3. Any Member’s bodies that have not been elected or appointed in compliance with the provisions of par. 2, even on an interim basis, shall not be recognised by Fifa.

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“4. Decisions passed by bodies that have not been elected or appointed in compliance with par. 2 shall not be recognised by Fifa.”