FIFA ban Zimbabwe referees chief Zhoya for sexual harassment

September 2 – A former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) official has been banned for five years by FIFA and fined CHF20,000 for sexually harassing three female referees.

FIFA’s ethics committee banned Obert Zhoya (pictured), who was secretary general of ZIFA’s referees committee, finding him guilty of “abusing his position”.

Zhoya’s suspension starts immediately, and he will be notified of the grounds of the decision within the next 60 days.

“Upon careful analysis of the written statements of the victims as well as the various evidence collected during the investigations conducted, the adjudicatory chamber was comfortably satisfied that Mr Zhoya had breached [three articles of] the code of ethics,” a statement on the FIFA website said.

Zimbabwe was banned from the game in February because of governmental interference and the latest sanction came after the ZIFA board was suspended by the country’s government-appointed Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in November last year.

Alleged sexual harassment of referees was one of the SRC’s chief reasons for suspending the board, and the case against Zhoya is the first to be decided.

Allegations of sexual harassment against Zhoya were first reported by local media in Zimbabwe in September 2020 but it was not until the alleged victims reported the claims to police, in December 2021, that a formal investigation was launched.

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