DUBE in panic mode. . . as Fifa sticks to its guns

Ishemunyoro Chingwere

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THE gaffe-prone Zifa chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, on Friday wrote to FIFA deputy secretary to the disciplinary committee Jose Rodriguez seeking to have the Warriors expulsion from the 2018 World Cup reversed.

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As Zifa’s slumber on the wheel reached crescendo levels, the Warriors were on Tuesday last week expelled from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers before they even kicked a ball over a $60 000 debt owed to the team’s former Brazilian coach Valinhos.

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In letters exchanged between FIFA and Zifa, exclusively obtained by The Sunday Mail and dated March 13 2015, Mashingaidze pleads with the international football governing body to allow Zifa to liquidate the debt and be reinstated ahead of the qualifiers’ draw set for July.

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Rodriguez, however, redirected Mashingaidze back to Valinhos with FIFA making it very clear that they will only reconsider lifting the ban once the two parties involved reach an agreement.

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“We are still committed to service the debt in question and to that end we request your esteemed office to allow us to settle the debt ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifier draw set for July 2015 and be reinstated.

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“Our failure to service the debt was by no means wilful default. We are keen to engage the creditor and the lawyers on the new payment plan, as early as Monday 16th March 2015,” wrote Mashingaidze.

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Rodriguez advised ZIFA through Mashingaidze that FIFA will only readmit Zimbabwe back into the qualifiers only if the association reaches an agreement with Valinhos.

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“Firstly, due note has been taken to your request . . . in this regard — as it was indicated in our previous correspondences — please note that only upon an agreement between the parties the proceedings (ban) could be suspended.

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“Therefore, we hereby inform the Zimbabwe Football Association that the Disciplinary Committee is not in a position to consider your request and that the content of our previous correspondence, in regards to the referred final and binding decision, remains firm,” wrote Rodriguez.

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Mashingaidze also requested an emergence meeting with FIFA to afford the debt-ridden association an opportunity to seek audience on ways the Zurich-based organisation could help retire the over $4 million debt that has seen creditors ravaging Zifa assets.

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Rodriguez, whose portfolio is responsible for disciplinary issues transferred the request to the relevant department which is the Member Associations and Development Department.

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“Finally, and for the sake of any doubt, with regard to your request for an urgent meeting with FIFA and the ongoing discussions with regard to the finances of your association, we kindly inform the Zimbabwe Football Association that your request has been forwarded to the relevant department within FIFA (Member Associations and Development),” advised Rodriguez.

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