Zifa’s drive towards establishing a National League, which replace the current four Division One regions and the third tier, has hit a rough patch with committees challenging the constitutionality of such a move.
The four regions, the Northern, Southern Eastern and Central Regions, have set themselves on a collision course with the acting Zifa executive led by Gift Banda.
Banda’s board resolved to set up the league which will become the second-tier, leaving the current Division One less fashionable.
In a lengthy letter seen by the NewsDay Weekender Sport, the regions through their respective chairpersons argue that Zifa would be in breach of its own constitution if the National League is conceived in the manner that has been proposed.
They argue that the establishment of a new member should be done by Zifa congress and not the executive committee.
“We refer to your letter dated January 11, 2023 of the instant on the above captioned subject matter, wherein you allude that; The Executive committee resolved to embark on the National Division League in line with section 10 of the Zifa constitution. There was a follow-up email on January 24, 2023 to the above referenced letter which set a deadline for teams, to have confirmed their participation in the National League by February 1, 2023. As the leadership of the regional leagues and in consultation with our respective clubs, we note with concern the apparent breach of the Zifa constitution in the manner in which you seek to admit the National League, as a member,” they wrote.
The letter was signed by Central Region’s Patrick Hill, David Mucheno from the Eastern Region as well as Sweeney Mushonga and Andrew Tapela from the Northern and Southern Regions, respectively.
“Article 9 of the Zifa constitution deals with the admission, suspension and expulsion of members, more in particular: Article 9.1 states that the congress shall decide whether to admit, suspend or expel a member, whereas Article 9.2 goes further to state that the admission may be granted if the applicant fulfils the requirements of Zifa, such requirements are as enumerated in Article 10(3).We again wish to highlight that Article 22 set the broad parameters for the authority of the congress, and more specifically Article 22(i) states that the congress has authority to admit, suspend or expel a member,” the letter further read.
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They argue that all constitutional requirements were overlooked.
“It is our observation that the above constitutional requirements have not been satisfied. As much as we concede that the executive committee is clothed with powers to make decisions, Article 34(a) is very explicit, that the executive committee shall pass decisions on all cases that do not come within the sphere of responsibility of the congress or are not reserved for other bodies by law or under these statutes. We wish to bring to your attention that, the admission of a member is a preserve of the congress, and such decision cannot be passed by the executive committee. For the avoidance of doubt, Article 10 merely provides for the membership of a National League, once it has been established.
The said article must never be read to imply that it is a requirement, but merely a provision, and whose establishment should clearly follow the strict laid down guidelines, as provided for in Article 9.
“Given the foregoing, it is very clear that the executive committee is acting outside its remit without any due cause.
“The regions as members of the congress categorically wishes to put it on record that we do not condone flagrant disregard of our constitution, and want to affirm that we expect the Executive committee to strictly uphold the constitution and allow for the due process in so far as the admission of a member is concerned.”
The regions are of the view that the idea seems to have been fast-tracked without giving the regions and clubs enough time to prepare.
“The conceptualisation and communication of such an important league must be well thought-out.
“The executive committee must take the lead and avail all the necessary information, lest there be more chaos in the football environment.
“The creation and admission of the National League has a huge bearing on the current structures which have served our football well, and the continued existence of these lower leagues must be of paramount importance to the leadership.
“There can never be any logical reason why we may want to rapture all contractual obligations which teams in the lower leagues may have entered into, be it with their players or sponsors.”
They argue that sponsorship partners are likely to be affected should the executive force the execution of the national league.
“We have teams which have signed players on the basis that they will be playing Division One football. Teams which have signed up with sponsors and drawn up budgets for regional division one football, all this and so many other social factors have to be evaluated, for the good of our game.
“All this catastrophe can be avoided by simply giving due notice to all clubs at the commencement of this season ahead, and defer this noble idea to next year, and in the meantime allow for the necessary preparations.”