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Fifa to help Zim fast-track match-fixing probe?

[Posted 24 Jun 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Fifa to help Zim fast-track match-fixing probe?

The World soccer governing body FIFA will be sending a team to Harare to meet in an effort to assist the finalisation of the match-fixing scandals which have rocked Zimbabwean football in the past few years.

Fifa will meet with officials of the Zimbabwe Football Assocation who have completed investigations into what has now come to be known as the Asiagate scandal.

The Zifa investigations centred on the trips to Asia by the senior national soccer team, and another visit to the region by Monomotapa Football club who masqueraded as the national soccer team.

A number of players including current national soccer team Method Mwanjali have come forward and admitted to have been manipulated to accept bribes during the trip in December 2009.

Players testified openly to Zifa officials that during the trip, players were paid between $500 and $1,500 to influence the outcome of the soccer matches.

In some of the matches which were reviewed by the Zifa investigating committee, included the matches in which Zimbabwe lost 3-0 to Thailand and 6-0 to Syria.

What is the real purpose of Fifa's visit to Zimbabwe?

 "They are going to meet people in an effort to bring this issue to finality," Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede revealed.

Gumede added that appropriate action will be taken against offenders.

Fifa rules are clear that any official or player found to have fallen foul of the rules, a fine and ban from the game for specified periods are possible sanctions.

In the case of Zimbabwean players such as Nyasha Mushekwi, who at some point asked to be substituted because he could not continue playing in a fixed match, it is to be seen if Fifa will consider the players' remorse and willingess to cooperate with authorities during investigations.

If some players are to be banned, it is possible that the Warriors will be hardest hit, and they stand to lose about two or three players, key players for that matter.

Protection of players from corrupt betting syndicates is the object of the new Fifa joint-initiatives with INTERPOL launched early this year.  

Zimbabwean players were so unfortunate to have been exposed to betting syndicates by corrupt Zifa officials such as the former CEO and another, who have since been relieved of their roles.


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