By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
FIFA have said non-participating countries at the World Cup that roars into life here on Thursday do not have an automatic allocation of the tournament tickets. This is contrary to claims by Harare City official, journalist and social media blogger, Hope Chizuzu, that tickets allocated to ZIFA were sold on the European black market.
While none-participating member associations can request a limited number of tickets in accordance with standard policy, those tickets, if availed, will not be for sale, but are for the associations’ identified guests.
The association have to state the number as well as personal details of the chosen guests.
“In accordance with the standard policy, all non-participating Member Associations can request a limited number of FIFA World Cup tickets,” FIFA said in a statement in response to questions from Zimpapers.
“They are provided, subject to availability, not for sale and only for the purposes of the respective football community.
“Before placing the requests such member Associations sign a ticket allocation agreement and provide personal details of their guests.”
Chizuzu, who has been on a relentless and personal drive to soil the image of the ZIFA leadership, had claimed on his Facebook page that ZIFA were actually allocated tickets for sale but instead of availing those tickets to willing Zimbabwean, the football association chose to put those tickets on the black market.
ZIFA are being represented by vice-president Omega Sibanda, board member finance, Phil Machana, and chief executive Joseph Mamutse at the FIFA Congress this week.
The Association’s president Philip Chiyangwa did not travel to Russia because he is recovering from recent eye surgery.
The Harare businessman was also forced to miss the COSAFA Cup final after his surgeon advised him that flying could bring complications from the surgery.
The presence of the ZIFA delegation in Russia, whose trip — just like all the delegates — was fully funded by FIFA, also puts to rest insinuations that the current leadership of the association does not have the mandate to run the game in this country.