We aren’t the odd ones out

FIFA BANS AND THREATS NEWRobson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
FIFA’S chilling warning that Zimbabwe could be thrown out of the international football family if the Government goes ahead and dissolves the ZIFA board dominated headlines in the country’s mainstream media yesterday.

ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze, desperate to show that they have a very powerful ally on their side, leaked the correspondence from FIFA secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, to induce fear into their growing army of critics, led by Sport, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Tabetha Kanenongi-Malinga.

The letter, addressed to ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube, found itself in the newsrooms, even before it had been seen by other board members, in yet another brazen display of how the ethics of corporate governance have been thrown out of the window at 53 Livingstone Avenue.

If ever Kanengoni-Malinga needed confirmation to her claims that ZIFA had been reduced to a two-man show, featuring Dube and Mashingaidze, then she can probably find it in the way FIFA’s latest correspondence was handled as some board members only reading about the developments in the newspapers.

The cracks within the ZIFA board were highlighted on Saturday, during their meeting with the Sports Commission, when Mashingaidze accused some of the board members of being ambitious and working with their foes to oust Dube.

The ZIFA chief executive stunned Sports Commissioners when he said he had evidence that some of the board members, who were in that meeting, had organised 5 000 Zanu-PF youths in Harare and 1 500 ruling party youths in Bulawayo to march to Dube’s house in the capital calling for the ZIFA boss to leave office.

A ZIFA board member interjected, during Mashingaidze’s presentation, and appealed to Sports Commission chairman, Edward Siwela, to caution the chief executive saying that he had not only strayed way offside, but was showing signs of disrespect for people who were his bosses.

There has been an attempt by Mashingaidze to dress the movement, calling for changes in the faces of those running Zimbabwean football, in political robes and on Saturday he took his case into the halls of the Sports Commission.

The serious divisions within the board means that the ZIFA secretariat has been put into full fire-fighting mode and councillors are being lobbied to ensure that they not only endorse Dube, at their extra-ordinary meeting later this month, but that they kick out the association’s vice-president, Omega Sibanda, board member (finance), Ben Gwarada and the women football boss Miriam Sibanda.

In return, the councillors are being asked to provide their suit sizes as ZIFA will provide them with the association’s branded suits and, in return, they have to back the man who was buying them those suits while throwing out the rebels.

The provincial leaders were summoned to a meeting at a house in the capital where they were addressed and given substantial out-of-pocket allowances each while, in the coming days and weeks, the 16 regional councillors, the 10 provincial councillors, the 10 area zone councillors and the NASH and NAPH representatives will also undergo the same routine.

“We are back where we were, at this stage, last year when people were campaigning for ZIFA posts and the only difference is that the councillors are now being told that the enemies of football are Sibanda, the VP, Sibanda, the women football boss and Gwarada,” said the ZIFA sources.

“That is why these three were not invited to a caucus meeting that was held at Dube’s house on Friday, ahead of the board’s appearance before the Sports Commission the following day, because it was supposed to only be made up of board members whom the president trusts to be on his side.”

Yesterday, FIFA’s chilling warning was being traded to councillors as a victory for Dube and Mashingaidze.

But, is Zimbabwe the first country to receive such a caution from FIFA?

And, after all, didn’t Kanengoni-Malinga make it clear in her presentation last week that there was a likelihood that FIFA would react if Government pushed the ZIFA leadership out?

OTHER EXAMPLES

Friday, July 4, 2014 — FIFA.COM

‘FIFA has today sent a letter to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) expressing its great concern over different actions taken by Nigerian public authorities that affect the NFF.

‘FIFA has learnt from various sources that the NFF has been served with court processes and that consequently an order restraining the President of the NFF, his Executive Committee members and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football has been granted by a High Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

‘FIFA has also taken note of the detention of NFF President AMINU MAIGARI carried out by representatives of the Department of the State Security Service. Furthermore, FIFA is also aware that the Minister of Sport has appointed an assistant director to take charge of the NFF.

‘FIFA has reminded the NFF that all FIFA member associations have to manage their affairs independently and without influence of any third parties as clearly stipulated in Articles 13, par. 1 and 17, par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes. The above mentioned actions are preventing the NFF from managing its affairs independently and are considered by FIFA as undue interference in the NFF affairs.’

July 9 2014 – FIFA.COM

The FIFA Emergency Committee has decided today, 9 July 2014, to suspend the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with immediate effect, on account of government interference. Article 13, par. 1 and article 17, par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes oblige member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

July 18, 2014 – FIFA lift suspension

‘FIFA has noted that the court proceedings and order preventing the president of the NFF, the NFF executive committee members and the NFF congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football that prompted the suspension have been withdrawn.

‘As statutory order has been reinstated at the NFF and the legitimate bodies reinstalled, FIFA has decided to lift the suspension as of today, Friday July 18, 2014. The lifting of the suspension means that all rights of the NFF as a FIFA member as defined in article 12 of the FIFA Statutes are reinstated.’

September 30 2014 — Pinnick

is new NFF president

‘Amaju Pinnick has been elected new president of the NFF. The meeting went ahead despite incumbent NFF president, Aminu Maigari, going to court to try and stop the polls.’

March 13 2013 — FIFA threaten to suspend Tanzania

‘The World Governing soccer body has threatened to crack the whip by suspending Tanzania from all international competitions if the Government will continue to interfere with football activities. In a letter signed by Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke, addressed to the Tanzania Sports Minister Fenella Mukangara, FIFA said they were watching keenly with events developing in Tanzania and promised to crack the whip if the current crisis is not solved amicably.’

October 29, 2013 — Malinzi new TFF president

‘Dar-es-Salaam — A man whose candidature was salvaged by world football’s governing body, Fifa, has been elected new president of Tanzania Football Federation (TFF).

‘Jamal Malinzi, who was initially disqualified by the TFF and only managed to run after Fifa intervened, beat outgoing vice president Athumani Nyamulani by 73 to 52 votes in polls. The 53-year-old businessman takes over from former international Leodegar Tenga, who did not seek re-election after serving for eight years. — BBC Sport.’

July 17 2014 — Ghana crisis

‘We have learnt from media reports that the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana has appointed a Committee of Enquiry and Investigation into the Black Stars’ participation to the 2014 FIFA World cup in Brazil,” a letter signed by Deputy General Secretary of FIFA, Markus Kattner, read: “Article 13 of FIFA Statutes dealing with Members obligation states clearly that: ‘Members have an obligations to manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by any third parties; to comply fully with all other duties arising from these Statutes and other regulations’”.

Ghana’s Response

‘Justice Senyo Dzamefe, the chairman of the commission, has hit back though, insisting FIFA cannot stop it from carrying out its duties, citing the sovereign independence of Ghana and the constitution that set up the commission. Ghana is a sovereign state.

‘The highest law of the land is the constitution. It is the president of Ghana who has set up this commission of inquiry backed by constitutional Instrument (C.I.82) and we have all the independence to do our job,’ he said.

‘We will not be intimidated by anybody. We will do our work. The only person who can stop us is the one who gave us this job, that is, the President of the Republic of Ghana and nobody else,’ said Justice Dzamefe, who is also an appeals court judge.