Hang them, says Blatter

HARARE - Zifa president Cuthbert Dube has claimed Fifa president Sepp Blatter told him he should have “hanged” players and officials found guilty of match-fixing and illegal betting in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.

Dube, who was addressing reporters at the unveiling of a new Warriors technical bench on Thursday, was responding to criticism aimed at the association for slapping varying sanctions on several individuals found guilty of throwing away games by a Zifa probe committee.

Last week, a little-known NGO called the Pan African Development Foundation (Panad) wrote to Zifa giving the federation a 14-day ultimatum to remove the bans, or face legal action.

“I was speaking to the president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, on some of the sentences we gave,” Dube told reporters.  

“He gestured to me that “you should have hanged them.” But we said no, we are Christians, we need to have compassion on our brothers,” said Dube in reference to Zifa’s decision to lift some of the bans initially imposed on mostly players found guilty in the scam.

Some individuals had their suspensions wholly lifted unconditionally while others were pardoned upon payment of “admission of guilty” fines ranging between $1 000 and $3 000.

Altogether, the pardoned individuals numbered 57.  

Dube added that Zifa had received overwhelming support from Fifa following the Asiagate sanctions, adding that the world football governing body will endorse the punishments.  

Dube also seized the opportunity to further hit back at the Ignatius Pamire-led Panad, saying the organisation was “bent on defending match-fixing.”

“We have on good authority, a list of actors involved in the last line of defence of the Asiagate scandal,” he said.

“A few days ago, some unknown non-governmental organisation sprang a surprise when they mellifluously anointed themselves the voice of the Asiagate scandal perpetrators.

“An NGO that dreams of running football in Zimbabwe should be advised to try their luck in football robotics and some super science sport.

“Anyone who falls prey to the antics of such organisation should do so at his own peril.

“I want to warn those players, if they fall to this organisation like they did in the Asiagate scandal, then it’s unfortunate.

“If they get involved then we will reverse all these pardons.

“As for Panad, they say they are a NGO, they should go and build boreholes or give food. There are a lot of hungry people out there. What they are doing is dangerous.”

Dube once again dismissed calls for his resignation, saying: “I will not resign until I clean up football in this country. I’m betting with my last shirt. In fact, if I resign, I will give you a farm on First Street.”

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