CRUMBLING ZIFA EXPOSED

LEADING THE WAY . . . Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane stresses a point at a media conference in Harare yesterday in the company of Sports Commission board chairman Edward Siwela

LEADING THE WAY . . . Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane stresses a point at a media conference in Harare yesterday in the company of Sports Commission board chairman Edward Siwela

Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
ZIFA’S attempts to try and use FIFA to stop the extraordinary meeting set for October 3 have failed after the world football governing body refused to be sucked into the fallout between the domestic game’s leaders and backed the indaba where the fate of the association’s leadership will be sealed.

And, in another mortal blow for the crumbling ZIFA leadership, FIFA have told them that they will not be giving them any more funds, from the global Football Assistance Programme, until the Zurich-based organisation is furnished with audited reports of how the money they have been injecting into domestic football has been used.

The Confederation of African Football have also thrown their weight behind the October 3 meeting, by advising ZIFA that they will be sending a representative who will arrive in Harare a day before the indaba, effectively leaving the domestic game’s leaders vulnerable to the revocation of their authority to run the game, from disgruntled councillors.

ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze wrote a letter to FIFA where he effectively requested for the world governing body to postpone the October 3 meeting on the basis that ZIFA did not have funds to host the indaba, and accusing various stakeholders in local football of trying to dislodge Cuthbert Dube’s leadership.

Alternatively, ZIFA requested that FIFA release funds to enable them to host that indaba, but the Zurich-based organisation this week advised the local football governing body that they would not release any funds until ZIFA complies with the requirement to provide audited financial statements of how the FAP Funds have been used.

Crucially, FIFA refused to be used to force the postponement of the October 3 meeting, leaving the ZIFA leaders panicking and they have called an Emergency Committee meeting at 3:30pm today, to be held at Dube’s residence, just a week after they held a similar meeting.

Sources revealed yesterday that the fragmented ZIFA board will now try to suspend some councillors, whom they feel are pushing the agenda to have the mandate of the leadership revoked, on the pretext that their Regions, Provinces and Constituents have not yet paid affiliation fees to the association.

Only those who are deemed to be fighting in the corner of those battling to revoke the mandate of the ZIFA board will be targeted, in a last-ditch effort by the game’s leaders to save themselves, after FIFA and CAF refused to battle in their corner.

As the ZIFA leadership crumbles, it has also been revealed that the company of the association’s chief security officer, Lovemore Marange, is the one that has been providing security services at 53 Livingstone Avenue and at the ZIFA Village in what amounts to a conflict of interest.

“Marange’s security company is the ones that provides those guards that you see at ZIFA House and at the ZIFA Village and while this is clear violation of corporate governance, given the conflict of interest that is clear, the latest is that the company has since withdrawn its services because of unpaid dues running to close to $37 000,” sources said.

“There is a lot that is happening right now, given that our leaders are in a panic mode, and one gets the feeling that it’s all crumbling and they are fighting tooth and nail to either cover their tracks or to find ways of hanging on.”

Yesterday, the Sports Commission confirmed that the income/expenditure statement released by ZIFA after the Nations Cup qualifier between Zimbabwe and Guinea was fiddled and not a true reflection of the payments that the association effected.

Sports Commission Board chairman, Edward Siwela, told a media conference in Harare that figures were misrepresented with some of the money having been used to pay staff salaries and to meet other commitments that were not related to the match.

ZIFA did not show that in their income/expenditure statement they released two days after the game.

“We noted with concern the governance issues that ZIFA continues to pay lip service to. We commissioned an audit team to look into the finances from the Zimbabwe-Guinea match and the findings from the report that we received did not indicate a huge fraud as had been reported,” said Siwela.

“It is clear that ZIFA fell short with respect to factual disclosure of their transactions. In some instances we had cases of misrepresentation. We had a situation where there were expenses that were put against the revenue realised from this match, which expenses had no direct bearing to the match.

“For instance we had staff salaries being paid from that match. The effect is to present a picture where perhaps a loss was realised from the game when in fact this may not actually be accurate because some of the expenses that were met from the revenue from that match had nothing to do with the expenses incurred from the match.

“They failed to disclose that they had applied money from gate receipts to pay expenses that were not directly related to the match in question.

“There were also instances where again there was misrepresentation in respect to those expenses. In short, ZIFA did actually realise a loss from the game but not of the magnitude that was presented in their financial statements.”

The press conference was also attended by Sports and Recreation Minister, Makhosini Hlongwane.

The Sports Commission revealed they had given ZIFA until October 5 to make their submissions in response to the findings by the organisation’s commission of enquiry which unearthed the deep-seated rot in the governance of football in Zimbabwe.

Dube and his ZIFA board were initially invited to testify before the committee on July 17 but they did not turn up. Further, copies of the findings were sent to them on August 3 but they failed to submit their response to the committee.

“This lack of co-operation by ZIFA is unfortunate and does not signal a desire on their part to work with SRC as an important stakeholder to assist in extricating them in the quagmire they find themselves in.

“After considering all issues relating to the inquiry, and in particular the need to avoid invalidating the outcome of the inquiry, it was found prudent that ZIFA be given an opportunity to respond to the committee’s findings.

“To this end ZIFA is advised to make their submission not later than 5 October 2015. SRC will then proceed with their decision whether or not ZIFA chooses to respond,” said Siwela.

Hlongwane said the committee of inquiry’s report and the results from the audit into the Zimbabwe-Guinea match showed serious governance flaws.

“We have noted that there are serious governance problems in general with the administration of football in the country. I want to make it clear that my Ministry takes the issue of governance in sport seriously,” said Hlongwane.

“It is one of the issues that sits at the core of the decay of sport in our country and therefore it is important that the issue of governance is dealt with so that we are able to bring back sport in Zimbabwe, we are able to rediscover the winning formula in our various sporting codes and also so that sport can assume its central role of galvanising and mobilising Zimbabweans in a situation where we all express ourselves as Zimbabweans notwithstanding our political, religious and other differences.

“In respect of ZIFA, I think SRC have been really lenient. They have given ZIFA an opportunity to respond to the matters and they have not responded. Now they have given them another chance to respond. I think there is no better way of handling these matters than the way SRC have approached them.”