Zim Warriors Football Games Are Back: FIFA Lifts Ban On Zimbabwe
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Zimbabwe Reinstated to International Football Community after Suspension Lifted
After a period of one year, four months, and 14 days, Zimbabwe has finally been readmitted to the international football community. FIFA has lifted the suspension imposed on the country for ‘third-party interference’ and appointed a normalization committee to oversee the transition.
In a letter addressed to the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), FIFA stated, “We would like to inform you that the situation of ZIFA was submitted to the attention of the Bureau of FIFA Council. On this occasion, the Bureau was reminded that, on 24 February 2022, the FIFA Council decided to suspend ZIFA with immediate effect due to flagrant violations of the FIFA Statutes.”
The suspension would only be lifted once certain conditions were met, including the repeal of specific decisions made by the Sports and Recreation Committee (SRC), confirmation of ZIFA and its management’s control over the association, and the withdrawal of legal complaints against ZIFA officials.
The FIFA Bureau acknowledged that the SRC had lifted the suspension of the ZIFA General Secretary in May 2022, and the suspension of the ZIFA Board had been rescinded following resolutions passed by the ZIFA Congress in April 2022. Furthermore, the SRC had withdrawn as a complainant in a legal case against ZIFA officials. However, it was noted that the mandates of the ZIFA Board had expired, and there were unresolved issues regarding the General Secretary’s position.
Given the prolonged suspension and the need for stability and reforms, FIFA decided to lift the suspension on ZIFA with immediate effect and appoint a normalization committee in accordance with FIFA Statutes. The committee’s responsibilities include running the daily affairs of ZIFA, restructuring the administration, establishing collaboration agreements, reviewing statutes and electoral codes, conducting elections for a new ZIFA Board, and ensuring a proper financial handover.
The normalization committee will be appointed by FIFA and CAF, with eligibility checks conducted by the FIFA Review Committee. FIFA reserves the right to dismiss or appoint additional members as necessary. The committee’s term will expire by June 30, 2024, at the latest, once all duties have been fulfilled.
During the normalization committee’s tenure, FIFA Forward funds will be released based on approved projects and subject to monthly reporting and budget submissions. A forensic audit of ZIFA’s accounts will also be conducted.
Zimbabwe’s readmission to the international football community comes just before the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers draw for Africa, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow in Benin.
The Zimbabwe national team, known as the Warriors, has not played since their victory over Guinea at the 2021 Afcon finals in Cameroon. They are in port 4 for the qualifiers, alongside Mozambique, Togo, Libya, Central African Republic, Malawi, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Gambia.