Gwindi contests Zifa ban

HARARE - Harare City chairman Leslie Gwindi has appealed against a Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) five-year ban from all forms of football, claiming the ruling was biased.

Zifa’s disciplinary committee slapped the outspoken administrator a five-year-ban for bringing the football game into disrepute following his public utterances in which he allegedly denigrated Zifa, the Premier Soccer League and their sponsors Delta Beverages.

Out of the five years, the disciplinary committee suspended one year on condition that Gwindi pays a fine of $6 000.

Another one year was also set aside on condition that Gwindi publicly apologises to Zifa, the PSL and the league’s sponsors.

The disciplinary committee also suspended three years on condition that the Zifa presidency aspirant doesn’t commit the same offence in the next five years.

However, Gwindi through his lawyer Charles Chinyama, has appealed against the entire ruling, delivered on February 4.

In his appeal, Gwindi said the disciplinary board fell foul of the Zifa constitution, adding that the committee was not properly constituted.

“The whole purported committee was biased, compromised in the sense that they were all on (Zifa president) Cuthbert Dube’s payroll, since Zifa could not afford to pay them, hence the committee exhibited gross bias in favour of Zifa and simply to please Cuthbert Dube at the expense of justice,” Gwindi said.

He further said that he was improperly brought before the disciplinary committee as he was not furnished with details of the charge he was facing in writing, within seven days. He also said he was not given an opportunity to respond to the application within seven days, as is stipulated by Zifa rules and regulations.

Gwindi said the offence was allegedly committed in March last year at the Bulawayo Press Club and he was only charged in July. He said the four-month delay rendered the charge incompetent.

“Further the committee erred in making a finding of fact that there was use of bad language which is likely to bring the game of football into disrepute,” Gwindi said.

He said Zifa rules and regulations do not give leeway for punishment of officials for use of bad or objectionable language.

“The committee further erred by refusing to accept that by making such utterances, the Appellant (Gwindi) was merely exercising his constitutional right to freedom of expression in terms of section 61 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.

He said the sentence imposed on him, induced a sense of shock.

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