Zifa Asiagate Committee Absolves 30 Players

“At least 30 players will be exonerated and we will be recommending these to ZIFA this week,” said chairperson of the Zifa Ethics Committee, Ahmed Ebrahim, at a press conference held Sunday in Harare.

Ebrahim, who did not name the players, also issued a stern warning against soccer clubs, officials and players that they will be fined $10 000 if they refused to co-operate in the on-going investigations.

The match fixing scandal, involving at least 100 football players, is ranked among some of the world biggest sporting scandals.

“If the parties fail to cooperate, we will reach a decision based on the files we have,” said Ebrahim.

He revealed that Zimbabwe based players interviewed had been very uncooperative.

“It has been reported that players are playing under a cloud but if you are not guilty there is nothing to fear.”

Of the players accused of having taken part in the match fixing, 15 are playing in South Africa, one in Mozambique, one in Swaziland, and one overseas.

“We have been told by some people in South Africa that we should leave the players alone until the season is over and the other player overseas will only finish his season in May, so the investigation will take long,” said Ebrahim adding that people should not push his committee into doing a rushed job.

Ebrahim said his committee will also travel to countries where the games were played to get a clearer picture of what exactly transpired.

Although Ebrahim said his committee appointed last October had no time limit, Zifa president, Cuthbert Dube, had indicated that the investigations would be complete before the end of April.

Ebrahim refused to answer any questions on another investigation that was done by a four member Zifa appointed committee which comprised Zifa vice president Ndumiso Gumede, board member finance Elliot Kasu, board member competitions Benedict Moyo and chairman of the Eastern region Fungai Chihuri.

There had been a general assumption that the ethics committee would use findings of the Gumede committee to make a ruling on the punishment to be meted out.

The delay in the conclusion of the Asiagate scandal will mean that once again Zimbabwe will be forced to field a makeshift side in their June African Cup of Nations qualifier against Burundi.

Burundi lead 2-1 from the first leg played in Bujumbura in February.