FIFA …what is govt interference?

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By Anesu Chakanetsa

FOOTBALL is a beautiful game that has brought smiles to many over the years and fostered concrete ties among races but, like the Bible and Jesus Christ, its virility has been hijacked by the so called ‘world police’.

Luckily enough, the banning of Zimbabwe and Kenya  from International football is happening at the same time the Chelsea saga in unfolding.

And Federation de Internacional Football Association (FIFA) is on record condemning its members who have their governments meddling in football affairs — even if the actions are meant to bring sanity to the beautiful game. 

Recently, Zimbabwe and Kenya were banned from international football because their wings of government had meddled in football affairs.

Kenya, in November, replaced the Football Kenya Federation with a caretaker committee while Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) took control of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).

FIFA has maintained that the allega-tions should be investigated internally rather than by governments taking over.

Zimbabwe:Banned
Kenya: Banned
England

“We had to suspend two of our member-associations, Kenya and Zimbabwe, both for government interference in the activities of the football associations of these (countries). Associations are suspended from all football activities with immediate effect. They know what needs to be done for them to be readmitted or for the suspension to be lifted,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said during a press conference held last month.

That was ok. 

But when Russia began its military operation in Ukraine, several Western NATO-powered governments sanctioned Russian individuals involved with football. 

When some diplomats run out of facts and ideas, they turn to unorthodox and illegal sanctions.

Everton, The Toffees  suspended commercial sponsorship deals with Alisher Usmanov-owned USM Holdings, Megafon and Yota after the Russian billionaire had his assets frozen by the EU.

 USM are training ground sponsors while Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is chairman and Usmanov even has an 

exclusive rights agreement for the club’s new stadium which is due to open for the 2024-25 season.

 State-run Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom, which has been intertwined with European soccer for some time now both as one of the UEFA Champions League’s main sponsors and that of Schalke 04 in Germany’s Bundesliga 2, had Its deals also cut off

The Roman Abromavic-Chelsea issue happens to be the most followed though. 

The Russian billionaire’s assets in England, including Chelsea Football Club, were frozen. 

Currently, Chelsea is under the patronage of the British government. 

Yes the government. 

They are now effectively controlled by the British government after sanctions were imposed on Abramovich.

Abramovich, who had been under scrutiny following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, had announced he was selling the Premier League club last week.

That process is now on hold, leaving the west London club, ranked by Forbes as the seventh most valuable in World soccer at US$4,7 billion, in a state of limbo, operating under a special government licence.

The Russian bought the club in 2003 for a reported US$204 million and his investment resulted in the most successful era in their history as they won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and twice the Champions League.

His purchase of the club helped transform the landscape of English football, with Chelsea breaking the stranglehold of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Abramovich had funded Chelsea via 1.5 billion pounds in total loans through Fordstam Limited, the entity through which he owns the club.

In their most recent accounts in December, Chelsea, who reported post-tax losses of $280 million for the year ended June 30 2021, said they were “…reliant on Fordstam Limited for its continued financial support.”

Yet now there is a huge question mark over the club’s future.

If it falls, it will be very unfortunate for local Chelsea fans who call themselves ‘mabhinya’, who claim it’s their team (i timu yedu iyi), yet there are local teams.

The team is in patronage of the British government, yet the so called FIFA of fair play have not yet uttered a single word. 

Is it not government meddling in football affairs?

If FIFA is really fair, why are they letting the British government take control of an entire club?

If it was the government of Zimbabwe taking control of the most popular club in Zimbabwe, Dynamos FC, the West and its whip dogs, the opposition would ask FIFA to ban Zimbabwe from international football because the government is not allowed to interfere in football.

If FIFA is really fair, why are they interfering in the Russo-Ukraine issue and condemning Russian action rather that anyone else involved? 

France and the US were allowed to continue playing football after they ran amok causing deaths in Libya — a humanitarian crisis that was quick to be forgotten.

Why is FIFA leading the extradition of players from Russia?

Are they not directly interfering in government issues. 

Yet the Russo-Ukraine issue was not caused by football.

When countries like Zimbabwe, Kenya and Russia joined FIFA, they never knew that the so-called super powers also control FIFA. 

When their countries have high rates of COVID-19 cases, they tell other people from their countries not to come to their countries because they think they bring more COVID-19 problems. 

They put South Africa and Zimbabwe on red list and bar players from travelling, and FIFA approves it. 

But they have high rates of COVID-19 cases than countries they are putting on red lists. 

European countries still hold the record of having a big number of countries (13 or more spots) during the World Cup, yet they are the second smallest continent in the World. 

FIFA has, in fact, created a lot of division among nations. 

Kenya and Zimbabwe should continue making noise about the defeaning silence by FIFA on the British government taking over Chelsea issue. 

There is a total imbalance of power in football and everything.

The US, France and the UK are the culprits. 

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