The Zimbabwe Soccer Referees’ Association has been dissolved following an emergency board meeting held in the capital yesterday as the national football association continues its crackdown on match-fixing in local football. There had been numerous complaints against local referees in recent years, a development that saw foreign officials being appointed to handle matches in last year’s Mbada Diamonds Cup competition.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube chaired yesterday’s meeting that also deferred the announcement of players and individuals to be banned from football activities for five years at most. Jonathan Mashingaidze, the Zifa chief executive officer, said the board had decided to go through the cases of each individual thoroughly before they impose any sanctions on the players and officials involved.
In the same vein, Mashingaidze said he will be meeting with Castle Lager Premier Soccer League chief executive, Kenny Ndebele with the intent to check on players who might not be considered for the Soccer Star of the Year award whose selection is penciled for next Saturday, due to the impending bans.“We need to clear that as we compare notes with Kenny Ndebele so that those who will be disqualified for their involvement in the scandal are not considered while those affected by any other issues are also made known,” said Mashingaidze.
Turning to the referees, the Zifa chief executive informed the paper that Ngoni Boyd-led association no longer exists as per Zifa statutes.“We would like to make it clear as well that the Referees Association has been dissolved as it is not recognised under the Zifa constitution and also in line with Fifa statutes.
“According to Article 38.14 the referees committee in this case which is headed by Tendai Bwanya is responsible for all the affairs and welfare of the referees as they operate under Zifa and no other association can be considered.“We have since written to the Referees Association and they are fully aware of the development,” he said. Analysts, however, said the dissolution was done in order to facilitate on-going investigations into match-fixing which are now focusing on local football.
Several referees were fingered in the Centralgate scandal, which ran concurrently with the Asiagate saga.Kenny Marange, who was the Referees Committee chairman and Zifa vice-president was suspended for suspected Asiagate involvement while the parallel Centralgate crisis claimed the vice-chairperson Samukeliso Silengane who was also secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League.All refereeing affairs were passed into the hands of Ndumiso Gumede, Zifa vice-president.
Meanwhile, Mashingaidze said the board will reveal their resolution on the national coaching post after studying the technical report of the failed 2013 Afcon campaign that was submitted by the Warriors technical team led by Rahman Gumbo.“The technical report highlighted the strengths and shortcomings that were experienced in the campaign as well as recommendations and we have accepted it.“Zifa will, however, next week issue an exclusive report highlighting the concerns and the way forward to give impetus for a new beginning,” Mashingaidze said.