FIFA ends Zimbabwe suspension ahead of World Cup qualifiers

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FIFA ends Zimbabwe suspension ahead of World Cup qualifiers.—newzimbabwe.com
FIFA ends Zimbabwe suspension ahead of World Cup qualifiers.—newzimbabwe.com

FIFA has officially lifted its suspension of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) after an 18-month period, clearing the way for the country’s participation in the African qualification competition for the 2026 World Cup. 

The decision was confirmed by officials on Monday, just days before the draw for the qualifiers. To ensure smooth operations during the transitional phase, an interim normalization committee has been appointed to oversee ZIFA until new management elections are held.

Zimbabwe faced suspension from the global governing body in February 2022 due to perceived government interference in the administration of the troubled football association. Following allegations of misappropriation of funds meant for Zimbabwe’s participation in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, the executive committee of ZIFA was dissolved in November 2021 by the country’s Sports and Recreation Commission, a government-appointed body.

FIFA’s Bureau of the Council made the decision to lift the suspension and establish a normalization committee, stating, “The Bureau of the FIFA Council decided to lift the suspension that was imposed on the Zimbabwe Football Association in February 2022 and appoint a normalization committee with immediate effect.” The committee’s primary tasks include reviewing the ZIFA Statutes and Electoral Code to ensure compliance with FIFA’s regulations and facilitating their adoption during the ZIFA Congress.

The normalization committee, chaired by local administrator Lincoln Mutasa, has been mandated to fulfil its responsibilities by June 2024. This crucial step allows Zimbabwe to participate in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers, with the draw scheduled to take place during the CAF Congress in Abidjan starting this Thursday. The first round of fixtures is set to kick off in November, marking the country’s return to competitive international football.

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