Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry spoke for the first time after FIFA banned Zimbabwe from participating in international competitions, citing government interference in the conduct of the game.
Below is the full statement of the former Olympic champion;
My Zimbabweans who love their football
I know some of you are angry, some of you agree with the steps taken, and some of you are taking
I also know that we have an unwavering love for all football. We like how it brings us closer;
we see it through our communities, all ages play; we love that it brings us hope and
makes us proud.
Has our football given us these things over the last few years?
Did that make us proud?
Did it bring us Hope?
Did that unite us?
This has opened up opportunities for our players and our youth to dream big and succeed
Here are some of the questions I asked myself two years ago when once again this ZIFA SAGA
suffered our country. Advice in court and out of court for various reasons is continuous
allegations of bribery and corruption, new allegations of sexual harassment and abuse
When will it stop?
If we have real leaders in football, whose momentum will drive our favorite sport
forward? Develop opportunities for our young boys and girls
share your talents with the world? If we read the headlines about the good that is ZIFA
do and not that bad that they are in?
How do we fix this? How to find common ground with CAF and FIFA? How we respect
Zimbabwe’s sovereign laws while respecting CAF and FIFA statutes?
IBS has been doing this for the last two years. They were asked to face
CAF and FIFA as football governing bodies on the continent and the world. They did it
knowing and respecting the constitutions of both. In the SRC communication series
gave a full briefing to both bodies on allegations, unresolved lawsuits and disappointments
and asked for help in how best to move forward.
The reason for this request was simple; we LOVE FOOTBALL, we know great talent
have and want to give our players a chance to shine.
These communications have led us to the present day;
1. After almost two years of communication we saw no change; the board is still in and
Charges of corruption, bribery, and new charges and cases are being fought out of court
sexual harassment and abuse of power.
2. Last year, the SRC suspended the work of the Board and the Secretary General of ZIFA.
3. More communication with both bodies after the suspension of the Board and the Secretary
4. Suspension of ZIFA from FIFA due to “interference” by a third party.
So what happened and where next?
During these calls and emails, two points became clear:
1. FIFA and CAF must uphold their constitution, and for them this is out of the question;
2. The SRC must do its job to protect and serve our athletes, while not recovering
alleged sexual predators and litigants
Part of our new spirit and what you will see in the Zimbabwe Sports Integrity Bill
formulated now, it is a reference to good corporate governance. Part of this bill will be
require all sports organizations to maintain the integrity of our country’s sports. What does that mean?
Well, in any business or governing bodies, or even foundations and community organizations there are
it is required to uphold the values and spirit of these bodies and in no way to invest them in them
bad reputation. If a member calls the organization into reputational requests, then it is
usually asked to step aside and sort out their problems before accepting again. This is done in order to
protect the organization, protect its stakeholders.
So why am I talking about this now? Well, first, this has never been done in the case of ZIFA
leadership and Board. They are constantly coming in and out of the court and running all the time
football. Why should we expect that something will change in their management if there is nothing
requires them to change?
Over the past two years, it has become clear that it is our duty to protect
stakeholders, our main stakeholders are our athletes. If there are no athletes, that is
no, federation, national, continental or international. When we got these charges in
sexual harassment and violence last year and found that nothing was done to protect
women, it was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. This is what leads to
suspension of the Board and Secretary General of ZIFA.
This decision to suspend them was not easy, all the consequences were reviewed
length, all intersections were drawn.
This was the first intersection of IBS. Were they going to stand up and defend the vulnerable or
were they going to allow this chaos to continue in our favorite football?
The SRC, with the full support of the government and the sports-loving public, decided to protect ours
athletes. WE have decided to defend what we think will be better for our national game. We
knew it could cost and we are willing to take risks because sometimes we are
one must fight for the voiceless, the vulnerable and the powerless.
We will stand next to these strong brave women who have come forward. We will stand by
our athletes and ensure that they have the right opportunities to develop their sport. We will do
all in order for this sport, which we all love so much, to be protected and raised to new heights.
We want to find a way forward with CAF and FIFA that will allow us, like Zimbabwe, to thrive as a football nation.
I believe we can find a way if it will fulfill the two points I talked about earlier
1. FIFA and CAF maintain their own statutes and
2. The SRC must do its job to protect and serve our athletes, and will not re-
identify alleged sexual predators and litigants
I believe there is a way to move forward and respect both of these points. It will take
more communication with all stakeholders will need to come all national football stakeholders
together and decided to protect their athletes and lead our football forward.
It will take us as a nation to unite and demand the best for football.
So my question to all of you is: which way will you go?
Will you stand by us and pursue what is right and ensure that we fight for the best football?
Will you stand by these brave young women and support them?
Will you help us keep football our heart as a nation?
Kirsty Coventry breaks the silence about the FIFA ban
Source link Kirsty Coventry breaks the silence about the FIFA ban