FIFA has finally lifted its suspension worth 18 months of the ZIFA or the Zimbabwe Football Association, just in time for the much-awaited African qualification competition – obviously for World Cup 2026 – according to the officials.
Until the elections for forming a new ZIFA management team are conducted, ZIFA’s affairs are to be managed by a recently appointed interim normalization committee.
In February 2022, the global football governing body suspended Zimbabwe after perceived interference from the government in terms of running the already-troubled football association.
ZIFA’s executive committee was asked for dissolution in the month of November 2021 by the Sports and Recreation Commission (a government-appointed body) of the country amidst allegations that the money given by the state to the association for the participation of Zimbabwe at the 2019 finals of the Africa Cup of Nations was actually misappropriated.
While Zimbabwe was allowed to play in the 2022 Qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar, the team was banned from participating in the qualifiers or the preliminaries of the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 in Ivory Coast.
On Monday, in a statement, FIFA confirmed,
“The Bureau of the FIFA Council decided to lift the suspension that was imposed on the Zimbabwe Football Association in February 2022 and appoint a normalisation committee with immediate effect.”
Apart from their daily news, the newly appointed interim normalization committee is also all set to “review the ZIFA Statutes and Electoral Code to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements and to ensure their adoption by the ZIFA Congress.”
This normalization committee is going to be chaired by Lincoln Mutasa, a local administrator, and is set to finish its whole mandate latest by June 2024.
The first draw for the African World Cup qualifiers is to be hosted at the CAF Congress – the qualifiers for the 2023 African World Cup will officially begin on Thursday in Abidjan. In November, the very first round of fixtures is to be played.
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