All eyes on Zifa . . .with no sign of Covid-19 bailout for PSL yet  

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Nigel Matongorere

AFTER many weeks of delays and dithering, the Zifa executive committee is expected to finally meet today to discuss the way forward regarding football’s bailout package to clubs and other affiliates.
The association has already received US$500 000 from Fifa and US$200 000 from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to go towards cushioning the local game during this coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The two organisations have also pledged a further US$1,8 million for the same purpose after realising the negative financial impact the novel virus has had on the global game.
Zifa had refused to help any of their affiliates and clubs with a stimulus package but later on had a change of heart.
The association’s president Felton Kamambo then promised clubs that they would receive a bailout package by June 20.
That deadline passed without any club or Zifa affiliate receiving any payment and since then, there has been no official word on the way forward.
All the football stakeholders that are in line to benefit from the stimulus package are now pinning their hopes on today’s meeting to provide a definite position on the matter.
What has bothered most clubs is the fact that all regional and continental football associations have already worked on the modalities of their stimulus package and commenced the disbursements.    
On Tuesday, the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) announced that it will distribute US$85 000 to their teams as a Covid-19 relief package.
Football in the Indian Ocean island has been suspended since mid-March but has now restarted.
“The federation will absorb all the travelling costs for the teams to and from the inner islands as we want to ensure that teams do not sleep over and we have also managed to negotiate a good deal with Air Seychelles for flights and for boat travel especially at a time where there are no regular flights,” SFF president Elvis Chetty told reporters.
“We are also planning to include the cost for officials and match commissioners so that they don’t have to stay over and this will be up to the play-off stage which will amount to around US$15 000.”
To top it off, SFF is also going to provide prize money to the top five teams at the end of the season and will also sponsor the local cup competition.
“We will offer US$15 000 to the Premier League champions which is a first, with the runners-up receiving US$11 200 and the total amount for the top five premier league finishers will come to US$45 300,” Chetty said..
“The SFF Cup winners will win a cash prize of US$7 500 with the runners-up receiving US$4 500.”
Zimbabwean clubs can only look at what is happening in Seychelles and elsewhere across the continent with envy.
The 2020 Castle Lager Premiership season should have commenced in March but had to be suspended as the government imposed a nationwide lockdown.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is now pushing for a September start after Caf recently provided health guidelines that need to be followed if football is to resume.
These include testing of players, officials, media and other support staff before and after matches.
However, with a single rapid test kit going for US$65, most local clubs cannot afford to adhere to these strict guidelines.
On away trips, players and officials will now require to be housed in separate hotel rooms with sharing no longer permitted.
This will chew into the clubs’ budgets as it will require teams to book at least 50 hotel rooms per trip.
Matches will also have to be played behind closed doors with fans only able to follow the action on television.
Most local teams rely on gate takings and with fans no longer permitted for the time being, it will be a big blow on their revenue.
Due to all these health guidelines, clubs would require a financial relief package from Zifa in order to fulfil fixtures once the game resumes.  

1 Comment
  1. Mohammed Ibrahim says

    Mohammed Ibrahim

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