FIFA Probes ZIFA Board Member Over Sexual Harassment Allegations
FIFA is investigating a second ZIFA official over sexual harassment allegations following former referees boss Obert Zhoya’s five-year ban imposed by the world football governing body in 2022.
This was revealed by the Minister of Sports Kirsty Coventry when she appeared before parliamentarians on Wednesday to respond to questions on Zimbabwe’s ban from international football.
According to the Zimbabwe Independent, Coventry reiterated that there was no way back for the ZIFA board members that were dismissed by the SRC.
The suspended officials include Felton Kamambo, Bryton Malandule, Philemon Machana and Stanley Chapeta. Said Coventry:
For clarity, the reasons that the SRC stepped in and suspended the board were three main reasons.
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The first reason was that Government had given ZIFA about US$2 million which has never been accounted for.
Secondly, four female referees have come forward and given their statements to the police and they have been investigated. Three of those members were on the board.
One of those members has already received a lifetime ban from FIFA from their own investigations that have been done over the last two months with an S25 000 fine.
FIFA is now investigating the second member that was on the board that was sexually abusing and harassing these women.
FIFA knew that this was happening in 2018/19 when these women filed an appeal with FIFA and got no response.
They then came to Government, – SRC, Government and my office worked together with these women to ensure that police reports were done and statements were made.
We then went back to FIFA and CAF and we requested for them to step in but they refused.
We then stepped in and suspended the executive for the things that I have just shared with Members of Parliament, which I have shared previously.
FIFA found Zhoya guilty of sexually harassing three female referees and banned him as well as fining him US$20 000.
Meanwhile, Coventry said the government has accepted FIFA’s decision to suspend Zimbabwe from international football. She added:
We have never asked them to lift it (the ban). We do not want them to lift it at this point until we have cleared and cleaned up our soccer.
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