Kenya and Zimbabwe banned from world football by Fifa

Knowledge Musona in action for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe featured at this year's Africa Cup of Nations, but were knocked out in the group stage

Kenya and Zimbabwe have both been banned from world football by Fifa because of governmental interference in the running of the game.

Kenya's sports ministry disbanded the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) over alleged misappropriation of funds and appointed a caretaker committee in November.

That same month, the Zimbabwe FA (Zifa) board was also suspended by the country's government-appointed Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

The reasons for the SRC's intervention include alleged sexual harassment of female referees by technical staff and allegations of fraud within Zifa.

"They know what needs to be done for the suspension to be lifted and for them to be re-admitted," Gianni Infantino, president of world governing body Fifa, said.

Meanwhile, at the end of November Nick Mwendwa stepped aside as FKF president after being charged with multiple counts of fraud, allegations he has denied.

SRC hits back

Zimbabwe's SRC was initially given a deadline of 3 January by Fifa to relinquish control of football back to Zifa.

That demand was not met, but Zimbabwe's men were allowed to play at this year's Africa Cup of Nations despite that failure by the SRC, which has appointed a nine-member "restructuring committee".

In a statement, the SRC reacted to the ban by questioning the failure of not just Fifa, but the Confederation of African Football (Caf) too, to tackle serious allegations of wrongdoing within the previous Zifa administration.

"It appears that Fifa is constrained by the provisions of its own statutes to protect certain of the undoubted sexual predators, fraudsters and corrupt administrators at the helm of football administration in Zimbabwe," the government-appointed SRC said.

"All this in the name of shielding Zifa from, to quote Fifa in its letter '…undue interference from a third party'.

"It is a fact that some of these administrators are facing, inter alia, charges of sexual harassment, bribery fraud and general corruption before Zimbabwe's courts."

"Both Fifa and Caf are fully aware of an insidious culture of sexual harassment perpetrated against female football referees in Zimbabwe.

"For the 18 months lapsed since these allegations were brought to their respective attention, neither body has initiated any tangible investigation focussed on culprits whose names are known to them."

Both Fifa and Caf have been approached for comment regarding the SRC's claims about the lack of a 'tangible investigation'.

The SRC statement added that it expects its ongoing suspension of Zifa to continue despite the Fifa ban, adding that "Zifa will return to the 'Fifa Family' when it is in a condition fit to do so".

Kenya asked to hand back control

In early November, Sports Minister Amina Mohamed set up a caretaker committee to run Kenyan football after an investigation revealed financial irregularities at the FKF.

FKF officials were soon locked out of their offices as the committee took over the running of Kenyan football, and Mwendwa stepped aside at the end of the month.

Now, Fifa is demanding Mohamed rescind her decision to appoint a caretaker committee - with the global body also requesting that control of the FKF offices be handed back to a federation now led by Mwendwa's vice-president, Doris Petra.

Fifa did advise that it would cooperate with the ongoing investigation into "corruption and any unethical conduct regarding FKF officials" during Kenya's ban.

Last month, Kenya's administrative woes saw its team withdrawn from its Women's Nations Cup qualifying tie against Uganda.

A Fifa ban means the two countries cannot take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted.

As a result, their respective participation in qualifying for the men's 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, which is expected to begin in June, is thrown into doubt.

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