Zimbabwe barred from hosting internationals until further notice

Fans outside the National Sport Stadium in Harare
The National Sport Stadium in Harare is among the stadiums barred

Zimbabwe has been barred from hosting any international matches until further notice after its main stadiums failed to meet required standards.

Zimbabwe's FA (Zifa) says the Confederation of African Football (Caf) took the decision after inspecting stadiums in November.

It means that Zimbabwe's key 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria next month will now have to be played in a neutral venue.

Zifa says it has already started the process of finding "an alternative venue in neighbouring countries" to host games.

Caf asked for improvement to three stadiums - Barbourfields, Mandava and the National Sports Stadium - but none have yet been addressed.

"While Zifa is engaging Caf with a view to appeal this decision, we have asked stadium authorities to send us ... timelines on work that needs to be done before Caf comes for another inspection," said Zifa in a statement. external-link

"To date, (none) of the three stadium authorities has requested us to invite Caf for another inspection - a position which Caf has said led to the decision to bar all three stadiums from hosting international matches."

Analysis by Steve Vickers, Zimbabwe football expert

This is embarrassing and will be costly for Zimbabwe, but it comes as a result of inaction by the authorities.

Caf inspected stadiums in Zimbabwe in November, and Barbourfields in Bulawayo was the only venue that was approved, but on a temporary basis.

The Zimbabwe Football Association does not control the stadiums, which belong to councils and, in the case of the National Sports Stadium, to government.

The renovations needed included fixing the pitches, dressing rooms and floodlights, but the economic crisis in the country made it unlikely that action would be taken.

But now, hosting home matches in South Africa or elsewhere will have huge financial implications.

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