Zimbabwe’s AFCON 2021 dream hangs in balance amid FIFA ultimatum

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe’s participation at the forthcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Cameroon hangs in the balance after FIFA on Tuesday gave the country’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) a two-week ultimatum to reverse its suspension of the board of the local football association or risk sanctions.

The SRC suspended the Falton Kamando-led Zimbabwe Football Association executive committee in November amid allegations of corruption and sexual harassment of female referees, among others. 

In a letter to ZIFA on Tuesday, FIFA chief member association officer Kenny Jean-Marie said the world football governing body has failed to find proof of the allegations against the association.

Jean-Marie said FIFA was concerned that the SRC had based its decision to suspend the ZIFA executive committee on “mere allegations without proof of a final and binding ruling”, and that the commission had gone on to appoint a “restructuring committee” to run football matters in the country without following laid-down international rules.

“Therefore, we kindly ask you to inform the SRC that in the event its decisions to suspend the ZIFA executive committee members and to appoint a ‘restructuring committee’ instead are not reversed before 3 January 2022 at the latest, we would have no other choice but to submit the present matter to the Bureau of FIFA Council for consideration and decision,” Jean-Marie said.

He warned that should the FIFA Council consider the SRC’s action as constituting undue third party interference in the internal affairs of ZIFA, “the appropriate sanctions may have to be imposed on ZIFA.”

“In such a case, all of Zimbabwe’s football would suffer the consequences, especially on the eve of the AFCON 2021.”

Zimbabwe has been pooled in Group B at the 2021 AFCON finals, together with Senegal, Guinea and Malawi.

The tournament is expected to run from 9 January to 6 February 2022.


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