Zimbabwe’s sports regulatory body, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) says it is unmoved by the FIFA Congress’ decision to uphold the country’s suspension from international football.
The FIFA congress on Thursday voted to uphold the suspension of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka from the international football community during its 73rd congress meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.
The FIFA Congress, the supreme legislative body of FIFA, brings together top executives from FIFA, confederations and representatives from 211-member associations and other football stakeholders.
Zimbabwe was suspended by FIFA for ‘third party interference’ last year, after the SRC suspended the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA executive for several violations, chief among them failure to account for public funds and sexual harassment of female referees.
During the FIFA congress, 199 of the 200 members voted for the suspension to remain in place while 197 voted for the motion restricting Sri Lanka from voting during FIFA elections.
Sri Lanka (FFSL) was suspended from international football by FIFA in January over political interference after the federation’s presidential elections fell short of the Zurich-based world football governing body’s standards after the country’s Ministry of Sports introduced a raft of regulations that reportedly compromised the autonomy and independence of the FFSL.
SRC board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa has hit back at the FIFA congress’s decision to uphold Zimbabwe’s suspension which he said was unnecessary as neither ZIFA nor the regulatory body had approached the world football governing body to have the suspension lifted.
He said SRC’s immediate focus remains to oversee the implementation of key reforms which were recommended by the ZIFA Restructuring Committee before any efforts to have the suspension lifted.
“There’s nothing new here. Neither SRC nor to the best of my knowledge, ZIFA have approached FIFA to lift the suspension of Zimbabwe’s membership,” Mlotshwa said.
“The focus is on reforms. Our conversations with FIFA are centered on reforms and not the lifting of ZIFA’s suspension. No such formal request has been made yet.
“And no such formal request will be made until ZIFA and SRC have agreed to the roadmap we have made previous reference to. That’s where our focus is and should be. It’s as simple as that.”
FIFA insists that only the unconditional reinstatement of the Kamambo-led ZIFA executive board will see the country’s suspension from the international football family being lifted.
However, the SRC says they are no longer in a position to legally reinstate Kamambo since he was recalled by the ZIFA Congress in April last year.