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FIFPro Division Africa is growing impatient at the apparent lack of progress in the situation of the Zimbabwean professional footballers who have been sentenced in the so-called Asiagate case.

FIFPro Division Africa is still awaiting an official reply from FIFA to a letter concerning the legal situation of the Zimbabwean national team players.

On July 15th, FIFPro Division Africa’s Secretary General Stéphane Burchkalter wrote this letter to know FIFA’s position on the matter, and also to request FIFA to urgently advise the Zimbabwean football association ZIFA to ‘reconsider and stop the players’ suspension’.

‘Unfortunately, we have still not received any answer from FIFA’, says Burchkalter. ‘The situation is very, very urgent as the players involved have already been unjustifiably suspended for over twelve months. They have not been allowed to play professional football and have not been paid for more than a year.’

In March 2012, the Zimbabwean football association (ZIFA) suspended, banned or fined more than sixty professional footballers from Zimbabwe due to their alleged involvement in the Asiagate scandal. In 2007 and 2009, the national team of Zimbabwe organised tours of Asia, where it played matches that were fixed. As a result, ZIFA sentenced 98 players, administrators and officials.

The Professional Footballers Association of Zimbabwe (FUZ) and FIFPro Division Africa concluded that ZIFA failed to comply with the provisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (Articles 136 and 137), the ZIFA constitution and the ZIFA Rules and Regulations. Among other objections, players were not cited properly, players were not properly charged, players were not formally charged, some players did not even travel or play with the national team when the fixed matches took place. Appeal was almost unaffordable, as the FA demanded an Appeals fee of USD 6,000, while an average salary in the Zimbabwean Premier League is USD 150 to USD 400 per month.

(Read more in the complete report by FUZ.)

FIFPro Division Africa and FUZ’s conclusions were shared by FIFA, as it refused to endorse and enforce the sentences imposed by ZIFA.

However, ZIFA has not cancelled the sentences. FUZ representatives have been talking to ZIFA for several months, but the FA has repeatedly given the same reply: ZIFA insists that they did their part in the investigation and if they did it wrongly only FIFA is entitled to tell them so.

FIFPro Division Africa urges FIFA to come up with a quick solution, as all delay will only hurt the Zimbabwean players, who are the victims of this judicial error.

Burchkalter: ‘We would like to request FIFA to confirm in writing the fact that the sanctions cannot be permitted to stand on account of the irremediable flaws inherent in the process employed in arriving at the verdicts and to let the players continue their careers for the good of the game.’