Harare: The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has suspended 80 players, including the core of the national team, on suspicion of being linked to a match-fixing scandal involving Asian betting syndicates, state media reported Wednesday.
ZIFA has set up an independent ethics committee to probe alleged match-fixing it believes took place in matches the national team played in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand in 2007.
"Every player who was mentioned in the `Asiagate` report, regardless of how many matches played, are suspended and will only be cleared by the ethics committee," ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze told the state-controlled Herald.
"For now, they are not eligible for selection in any national duty commitments," Mashingaidze added.
The player suspensions are set to affect Zimbabwe`s bid to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, whose qualification matches start this month. Zimbabwe faces Burundi on February 29 in the first qualifier.
We're building him (RvP) up now because of the World Cup. It’s a pity but we have to or he’ll never be fit.
Louis van Gaal