NGO tackles Zifa over Asiagate

HARARE - A fledging advocacy outfit has brought a new twist to the Asiagate sanctions by vowing to legally represent individuals banned by Zifa after being found guilty of match-fixing and illegal betting, claiming the sentences  are a violation of human rights.

The Pan African Development Foundation (PANAD), chaired by former Dynamos Football Club chairman Ignatius Pamire, yesterday told reporters at a press briefing organised by the organisation that the individuals punished in the scandal were “not subjected to just and fair disciplinary procedures and mitigating circumstances taken into account before punishment were meted out in accordance with the well-defined football rules and regulations.”

Pamire’s organisation has since written to Zifa president Cuthbert Dube airing their concerns, in a memo titled “Demand for the Immediate Nullification of ‘Asiagate Scandal’ – Unfair and Ujust Punishments Due to Zifa’s Non-Compliance with Fifa Disciplinary Code and Zifa’s Constitutional Procedures.”

The petition was copied to Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke, Confederation of African Football (Caf) Hicham El Amrani and Zimbabwe’s Sports minister David Coltart.

PANAD is represented by Chikumbirike & Associates Legal Practitioners.

With Fifa clear on the matter regarding to taking football matters to court, Pamire said in response to a question: “Zifa cannot ban us, Fifa cannot ban us because we are an NGO.”

The organisation’s secretary, Lovemore Sithole, buttressed Pamire’s point: “We are not taking the matter to court to look at facts, we are looking at the constitution of Zifa and saying what happened is unfair. We have looked at the loopholes and said Zifa has failed to deal with this matter, to the detriment of people.”

PANAD claims to be a pressure group dealing with “human rights, disadvantaged people and empowerment.”

In item (iv) of the petition, PANAD says Zifa failed to comply with the provisions of Article 137 of the Fifa disciplinary code in the following respects:

·         The people were not cited properly as required by the Zifa constitution, rules and regulations, the Laws of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Rules of natural justice.

·         The people were not charged of any offence or transgression in terms of the Zifa constitution, rules and regulations.

·         Rule 4 of the Zifa rules relating to misconduct and disciplinary proceedings of the Zifa rules and regulations (Zifa Rules) succinctly sets out the procedure that has to be followed where one is accused of having committed an act of misconduct or offence.

·         Such people have to be charged, as an accused, before a disciplinary tribunal.

·         The have to be advised in writing the nature of the alleged misconduct or the provisions alleged to have been breached.

·         They have to be given a statement of facts relied upon or provide with documents, if any, relied upon.

·         Formal charges have to be performed.

·         They have a right to question any witnessed used against them and rebut any evidence, if any, used against them.

·         The Zifa Independent Ethics Committee invited people to attend a ‘Commission of Enquiry” investigating match-fixing and illegal betting scandal involving Zimbabwe national team.

“It is our sincere belief that the Zifa board failed to justly treat the affected persons, as people with rights because the above football governing rules and regulations were not complied with and hence our decision to assist the affected persons,” said PANAD in a statement. - Sports Writers

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