12 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Zifa, Refs Showdown

Photo: Confederation of African Football.
Zimbabwe senior soccer team

ZIFA and the Zimbabwe Referees Association are headed for a protracted showdown as the disbanded body has vowed they will not bow down to the directive issued by the mother body.

The showdown between Zifa and the ZSRA has sucked in Fifa with the world football governing body insisting that the referees' union should be disbanded in line with new global guidelines.

A defiant ZSRA, led by Ngoni Boyd, maintains that they should be recognised as a referees' labour body.

Zifa, in line with Fifa regulations, which should have been implemented last year, have since revoked ZSRA's membership of the assembly and ruled that only the Zifa Referees Committee should handle referees' affairs in the country.

The Zifa Referees Committee is currently led by the association's vice-president Ndumiso Gumede following the suspension of Kenny Marange over the Asiagate scandal.

Marange was absolved of any misconduct by the Justice Ebrahim Commission but has remained on the sidelines with Zifa saying he will face a disciplinary hearing.

The ZSRA leadership, which met in Gweru over the weekend, have remained defiant and want to continue having a stake in the control of local referees.

"Basically we don't have any problem with Zifa or the referees committee," said Boyd

"We recognise the committee and it's mandate that includes training of referees, upgrading and downgrading of referees, appointing match officials and everything to do with the technical aspects and their interpretations.

"We even encourage referees to attend courses or fitness tests conducted by the committee. There is no way we are interfering or taking the powers of the referees committee.

"We are of the opinion that we should be allowed to exist because we are more of a labour body.

"Zifa are our employers and they cannot be an employer and the workers' representative at the same time.

"We are operating at the same level as Zimta, ZUJ or the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe and at the same time some form of burial society.

"We have a benevolent fund to help members in times of distress and during bereavement and we were in the process of looking at insurance issues for our members.

"Ours is more concerned with the welfare of the referees, something that the committee cannot do."

Boyd said they had a mandate to the councillors who elected them into office.

"Our councillors who elected us and tasked us with the mandate have said if the Zifa assembly no longer want us then we should operate outside the confines of the assembly," said Boyd.

"They have asked us to write to Zifa to seek clarification on the manner everything that led to the announcement of the dissolution of our association had been done."

Gumede, who is also the chairman of the Referees Committee, was not available for comment yesterday.

However, Fifa Referees Development officer for Southern Africa Carlos Henriques has warned Boyd that they would have to join the Zifa Referees Committee if they intend to continue with their careers as referees.

"I regret the late reply. I have taken note of your email, but according to Fifa statutes, refereeing organisation, regulations and development of referees must come under the exclusive control of the member association (Zifa) and under no circumstances may fall under the supervision or control of other bodies, such as leagues, unions or government.

"These regulations were adopted by the 208 Member Associations, and should have been implemented last year.

"I recommend you to read the Fifa regulations (refereeing), and be part of refereeing," wrote Henriques.

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