Zim soccer and cricket bodies forced to sell assets to pay debts

2015-03-20 00:00

HARARE — Zimbabwe’s broke national cricket and soccer federations have been forced to sell assets such as a television broadcast van to a church and an artificial training field to a high school to pay spiralling debts.

For the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), their failure to settle a debt from 2008 to former national coach José Claudinei Georgini led last week to the country being thrown out of 2018 World Cup qualifying by Fifa.

This week, Zimbabwe Cricket were forced by a court to sell an outside broadcast van and nine other vehicles used by senior staff, including the chief executive, to pay around $200 000 (R2,4 million) owed to a former employee who took the body to a labour court.

The TV van was bought for $21 000 by a church. A high school purchased Zifa’s turf, which was part of a Fifa-funded training centre, for $115 000, according to local media reports.

Both federations are in serious financial trouble, reflecting the economic turmoil of the country, which abandoned its own currency in 2009. Zimbabwe now uses the U.S. dollar.

Zimbabwe is one of cricket’s 10 Test-playing nations and went to the ongoing World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

But back home, ZC has been financially troubled for years.

The TV van and cars used by the chief executive, director of coaching, chief selector and others were sold to raise money to pay former commercial executive Andrew Muzamhindo, who left ZC in 2007. Since then, the amount owed to him has risen with interest and legal fees.

Other vehicles were also auctioned this month to pay debts.

Zifa said in a statement that they were still unable to pay around $67 000 to Brazilian coach Claudinei, who left his job in 2008. Fifa gave Zimbabwe several deadlines then ran out of patience.

Zifa say they have appealed to the world body and, while they want to pay Claudinei what they owe, they simply have no money.

“Fifa’s decision comes against a background of a severe financial crisis that is currently weighing down the association, literally crippling all operations,” Zifa said in a statement.

Zifa said removing the team from World Cup qualifying will “worsen our plight”.

They are also battling with legal orders that have resulted in court officials removing furniture and computers from their headquarters to pay off other debts.

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