Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
CAF president Ahmad Ahmad says reports of alleged sexual harassment of female referees in Zimbabwe by members of the Referees Committee should not be swept under the carpet, but investigated thoroughly.
Ahmad told Chronicle Sport yesterday that sexual harassment had no place in football.
“Although we have not been formally alerted of this shame, this is a problem that should be taken seriously. Even law enforcement agencies in your country should spring into action and investigate these very serious allegations to the satisfaction of both parties,” said Ahmad.
Meanwhile, Zifa yesterday issued a statement calling on match officials that may have been victims of sexual harassment to come forward and lodge their complaints or evidence with Zifa chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse for ‘thorough and further investigations.’ Zifa said it takes such allegations seriously.
Just how Mamutse will investigate his employers is a matter of interest since the sexual harassment allegations have been made against some Zifa national executive committee and Zifa congress members.
“It is alleged that two members of the Referees Committee members sexually harassed some female referees. As Zifa, we take such allegations seriously. We are therefore urging all those officials that may have been victims of these alleged offences to bring up their complaints or evidence to the Zifa chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse for thorough and further investigations.
“No complaint has been brought to our attention so far. We, however, note with concern that ever since the current executive committee assumed office, there have been spirited efforts by some noted individuals writing on social and print media to bring the name of the association into disrepute. We therefore reiterate that Zifa has sound governance principles and will take all necessary steps to ensure that its reputation is not tainted .
In conclusion, Zifa urges its members and officials to utilise internal grievance handling procedures than resorting to social media ,” said Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela.
While Zifa says it’s not aware of any complaints, one of the accused persons, named as Official One on Wednesday indicated that referees committee vice-chairman Brighton Mudzamiri was already investigating the allegations.
Last year Fifa banned for life Afghan football association president Keramuudin Karim for sexually abusing female national team players, while five, who knew of the abuses but never took action, were handed five-year bans.
The abuse was over a five-year period from 2013 to 2018. Karim was found guilty of violating the Fifa Code of Ethics, particularly Article 23 and 25.