Clubs corner Zifa over forex bailout 

PREMIER Soccer League (PSL) clubs have made it clear to Zifa they will only accept being paid their Covid-19 relief aid in United States dollars.
The majority of the 18 top flights teams said this in a heated emergency meeting in the capital yesterday with the association to discuss the payment modalities of the stimulus package.
The meeting was prompted by Zifa’s recent announcement that they will convert the foreign currency they received from Fifa and Caf into the local currency before forwarding it to clubs and their affiliates.
Zifa is entitled to get US$2,5 million from Fifa and Caf, and the association has already received the first tranche of that money.  
Yesterday, the association came face-to-face with reality when they were confronted by the angry clubs over the matter.
The meeting lasted a gruelling five hours as PSL clubs insisted that their share of the package be deposited into their nostro accounts.
After the meeting, Zifa president Felton Kamambo told reporters the association will now look at the possibility of paying the money in foreign currency.
“We discussed the state of football, the resumption of our league and quite a number of other issues…among them the Covid-19 relief fund where we discussed at length its distribution,” Kamambo said.
“They (PSL) have also come up with their own recommendations which the board is going to look at and make a decision in the near future. We were in agreement on almost all the items we discussed.
“We have already started paying up and some of the regions have been paid in the local currency; the PSL recommended that the payments are made into their nostro accounts.”
The under-fire Kamambo said the meeting failed to reach a consensus but the Zifa board will now meet to come up with a final position.
“Now that our affiliate has made some recommendations, the board is going to look into that very soon,” he said.
Clubs want to be paid in foreign currency due to the fact that the Zimbabwe economy has slipped back into hyperinflation territory.
Latest figures from ZimStat show that the year-on-year inflation between May 2020 and May 2019 now stands at 785 percent.
This has seen the local currency lose value at an alarming rate, with the RTGS dollar now officially trading at 1:68 against the US dollar.
However, the rate is much higher on the parallel market where US$1 is fetching as high as $110.
Initially, the 2020 football season should have commenced in March but owing to Covid-19, those plans had to be scrapped.
There are now plans for the season to finally kick off in September after the Caf Medical Committee drafted regulations for football to resume safely on the continent.
“What we have done like I said at our previous press conference, the doctors and the competitions committee are looking at the resumption of our football.
“We have earmarked September as the possible date to start,” Kamambo said yesterday.
“But the committee will report back to us on August 8 then we will make a decision on what to do.”
Some of the recommendations made by Caf include testing of all players, coaches, support staff and all those that will be involved in matches.
Travelling teams will also be expected to book separate rooms for their entourage with sharing strictly prohibited.
Fans will also likely not be permitted into venues, with teams playing in empty stadia to avoid possible transmission of the virus.

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