Johannesburg, S Africa — FIFA dealt Zifa a huge blow when they ruled out an immediate financial injection to associations that are currently fighting match-fixing, in an an environment where the association are battling to conclude investigations into allegations that some of their national teams games were fixed.
The world soccer governing body’s new head of security Ralf Mutschke told participants at the Fifa/Cosafa and Interpol regional training workshop for integrity in sport that his department did not have any money to give to member associations.
Mutschke, who took over from Chris Eaton in June said Fifa would instead undertake training programmes to raise awareness on the dangers of match-fixing and the preventive measures that could be undertaken to ensure that vulnerable groups are not targeted by the betting syndicates.
The former German police and security executive also noted with concern that age-group players and those who are poorly remunerated by their clubs or national teams had become the major targets of match fixers.
Although he acknowledged that the huge sums of money splashed by the illegal betting and match-fixing syndicates were central to the problems most associations face when trying to combat the scourge Mutschke said limited funding could hamper the global efforts being made to fight the corruption.
“Our programme is purely focused on training but Fifa is not subsidising the funding to fight match-fixing. Our budget is tight and has already been exhausted but we have the two days during the workshop to map a way forward to the best interests of football.
“I am afraid that clubs that cannot be able to pay players are vulnerable but Fifa cannot pay for each club that is in financial danger . . . it is just not possible.
“Fifa cannot pay each member association that is in financial problems because our own resources are not enough but I do acknowledge that money is a big a problem,” Mutschke said.
Mutschke said Fifa would only institute sanctions once Zifa and Safa have furnished them their reports which should be first forwarded to the Confederation of African Football.
“I do not want to discuss individual cases at the moment but Safa and Zifa have to first finish the process they are undertaking then it will be forwarded to Caf and Fifa and if there are any bans on any individuals then Fifa will make them worldwide.
My predecessor mainly led the probe on intelligence on the activities on Raj Perumal but we don’t know anymore than the member associations do.
“I have an investigation budget which is already over the limit. The funding of investigation is a problem and the question is where to start. If I pay for Zimbabwe I would have to do the same with member associations and the money is not enough.
“This workshop is a start of a 10-year programme to fight match-fixing but I cannot solve all the countries’ financial problems with regards to match fixing. We also have a programme starting next month that will avail opportunities for whistle blowers to assist Fifa with information on match fixing and corruption in football,” Mutschke said.
But in ruling out immediate Fifa funding to associations currently fighting match-fixing, Mutschke took the Zifa representatives here by surprise as this appears a U-Turn from the pledge that Eaton had made on his visit to Zimbabwe in May last year.
Sport and Recreation Commission director-general Charles Nhemachena who presented a paper on Zimbabwe’s experience with match-fixing yesterday is also in the delegation which includes Premier Soccer League chief executive Kenny Ndebele, Edward Marodza of the ZRP CID fraud department, and Clemence Chimbari, a law officer in the attorney general’s office.
“The issue of match-fixing is a national problem and it requires a national response.
It is not just a Zifa problem. It is a costly exercise when you look at the number of people involved and the interviews that needed to be carried you can see that it is an enormous budget which we as a nation would have to address,” Nhemachena said.