WORLD Football’s governing FIFA has lifted Zimbabwe’s suspension from international football, a year and a half after it was imposed due to government interference.
Zimbabwe was slapped with an indefinite suspension by FIFA after the country’s sports regulatory body, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), removed the Felton Kamambo-led Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) board from office which was deemed as third-party interference.
This impasse resulted in Zimbabwe being barred from participating in international football competitions.
However, after the recent visits by FIFA officials to Zimbabwe over the last couple of months, the world football governing body finally struck an agreement with the SRC.
The negotiations which were also graced by representatives from the continental body CAF and COSAFA culminated in the SRC lifting the suspension of the ZIFA board.
The lifting of the suspension of the ZIFA board members was however only a formality as their term of office had already expired when they were recalled by the ZIFA Congress in April last year, with Gift Banda being appointed acting president of the association.
FIFA revealed in a statement on Monday evening that it will immediately appoint a normalisation committee to run the affairs of ZIFA in the lead-up to fresh elections.
“Under these circumstances, the Bureau of the Council decided on 10 July 2023 to lift the suspension on ZIFA with immediate effect and to appoint immediately a normalisation committee for ZIFA, pursuant to auricle 8 paragraph 2 of the FIFA Statutes,” read a FIFA statement.
“The normalisation committee will consist of a suitable number of members, who will be appointed by FIFA and CAF (Confederation of African Football). The composition of the normalisation committee will be disclosed separately. While the aforementioned persons (Kamambo & Co) will assume their duties with immediate effect, all members of the normalisation committee must pass eligibility checks to be carried out by the FIFA Review Committee in accordance with the FIFA Governance Regulations.
“Their confirmation will be contingent upon the outcome of the eligibility check. Furthermore, the FIFA administration, in consultation with CAF, reserves the right to dismiss any of the members of the normalisation committee and/or to appoint further members at any time.
“As the normalisation committee will also act as an electoral committee whose decisions will be taken at first and last instance, none of its members will be eligible for the positions to be filled during the elections under any circumstances, including in the event that their mandate as a member of the normalisation committee has been revoked or that they resign from their position. The specific period of time during which the normalisation committee shall perform its functions shall expire as soon as it has fulfilled all of its duties as mentioned above, but by 30 June 2024 at the latest,” FIFA added.
The latest development means Zimbabwe will be included in the World Cup qualification competition draw set for Wednesday.
CAF have provisionally included Zimbabwe in their 2026 World Cup African Zone qualifying draw scheduled for Cotonou, Benin.
The Warriors will be in Pot 4 when the draw is done and will be in the same lot with Mozambique, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Malawi, and Libya.
The World Cup qualifiers are set to begin in November. _*NewZimbabwe*_