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ZIFA Being Investigated Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

FIFA has reportedly confirmed that an investigation has been launched into the sexual harassment claims made by female referees against two top Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) officials.

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ZIFA's Referees' Committee chairman Bryton Malandule and secretary-general Obert Zhoya have been accused of sexual harassment by some unnamed female officials in the African country, according to The Guardian.

Although the allegations were sent to the world football governing body, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) in December last year, a formal investigation was only launched when the alleged victims took their story to the police.

One of the unnamed referees voiced her frustration with the relevant football authorities for a lack of action, while another claimed she had received multiple unsolicited WhatsApp messages from Zhoya asking her to spend the night with him in his hotel room.

Malandule, meanwhile, has been accused of making "sexual advances" towards her in March of 2019, and is understood to have told The Guardian he would not be able to comment on the matter while there is an investigation ongoing.

In light of the calls for justice to prevail, a FIFA spokesperson has stated that the governing body's "ethics committee is aware of the allegations and a process is ongoing in accordance with the rules of competence set out in article 30 of the code of ethics".

The process has been taxing for one of the alleged victims, who admitted she has felt let down by FIFA as she had hoped they would intervene earlier in order to protect female referees.  

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In November last year, ZIFA's entire board was suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission over "several incidents of gross incompetence", with the allegations of sexual harassment among the inadequacies cited.

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