FIFA has lifted the suspension on the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) and has established a temporary committee to oversee the organization for a year. This decision allows Zimbabwe to participate in the draw for the African qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.
Solomon Mudege, FIFA’s head of development in Africa, expressed full support for Zimbabwean football during a news conference in Harare. The ban was imposed by FIFA in February 2022 after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), appointed by the Zimbabwean government, suspended ZIFA. FIFA prohibits third-party interference in football associations’ operations.
As a result of the suspension, Zimbabwe was excluded from various competitions, including the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2024 Women’s Afcon, and ZIFA had its FIFA funding frozen. The SRC’s intervention was based on allegations of sexual harassment of female referees by ZIFA technical staff and claims of fraud within the governing body.
In September 2022, FIFA suspended former ZIFA official Obert Zhoya for five years due to his sexual harassment of three female referees.
The newly-formed normalization committee has been given the mandate to complete its tasks by June 30, 2024. Its responsibilities include restructuring ZIFA, reviewing its statutes, and organizing elections for a new board. The committee is also tasked with ensuring a smooth financial transition to the new ZIFA board and establishing a collaboration agreement between the SRC and ZIFA to address issues related to sexual harassment.