The Sunday News
29 September 2012
TODAY is the last day that Fifa had committed itself to funding the Zifa Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) set up to investigate the Asiagate scam.
The world football’s governing body Fifa had indicated they are willing to fund the committee only up to 30 September and the cash strapped national mother-body will have to foot the rest of the bill.
Fifa, which has been making efforts to stamp out match-fixing in the game, agreed to fund the committee as Zifa was finding it difficult to pay for the work of the commission.
An official at Zifa, unauthorised to speak to the Press, confirmed the cut off date by Fifa and expressed worry over delays in the release of the report.
According to media reports the report is complete and is being printed.
“As you might be aware, (Zifa president) (Cuthbert) Dube demanded the report from the committee because they promised it will be available early this month.
“We need to have this issue behind us and we move on. We will, however, have to wait for the report,” he said.
Efforts to get an official comment from Zifa were fruitless.
The Asiagate investigation was also an issue at the recently held football indaba that included various parties including Zifa, the Minister of Sport, David Coltart, Sports and Recreation Commission among others.
Delegates at the meeting expressed dismay at the delay of concluding the match-fixing saga, stating that it should come to a closure soon if Zimbabwean football is to move on.
Sources at Zifa said there were worries about the delays in the release of the report because of its implications on the pending qualifying Warriors match against Angola on 14 October in Luanda.
The sources said there were suspicions that the failure by the IEC to clear more players could have a negative effect on team selection.
“If the IEC managed to absolve 33 players in April, why has it taken them so long to clear others? If they cannot release the whole report why not name a few players who have no case to answer?
“Or are they telling us the rest of the players fingered in the report are guilty?” asked the source.
The source added there was fear that the Asiagate masterminds could have infiltrated the committee in order to discredit the association by ensuring the Warriors’ failure to go through to the 2013 Afcon, although there is no evidence to prove such claims.
“The Warriors technical department needs all players at their disposal and if the IEC was working in the interest of the nation then they would release the names of the cleared players to ensure they play a role in assisting the Warriors qualify for the 2013 Afcon.
“I do not think those behind Asiagate would want to see the team succeed and the IEC is yet to give Zifa any plausible reasons on why they are yet to release the report, raising fears there could have been infiltration,” said the source, who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.
Dube is reported to have clashed with Emmanuel Chimwanda, a key official in the IEC over the delays in releasing the report.
The committee was appointed in October last year to bring to finality investigations into the suspected match-fixing scam that saw almost 100 players suspended from national duty and five elected officials suspended from the Zifa board.
Our sister paper Chronicle reported that Zifa demanded that the Asiagate report be released without further delay, not only to pacify a restive nation but also to clear players who might have been found not guilty and are needed for the senior national team’s final 2013 Africa Cup of Nations second leg qualifier against Angola next month.
Efforts to get a comment from Chimwanda and other members of the IEC were fruitless.