League gears for resumption

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Godknows Matarutse

THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) is now pushing for a September start for the 2020 season amidst the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic after top flight clubs were promised financial aid by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).

Initially, the 2020 campaign should have commenced in March but had to be postponed after the government
imposed an indefinite nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.
There were fears this year’s campaign would have to be cancelled all together as the cases continue to increase.
Those fears were heightened after the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Medical Committee drafted guidelines which must be followed for leagues on the continent to resume.
Players, coaches, officials and all the supporting staff, who will be involved in the matches, have to be tested before and after the games.
Locally, coronavirus test kits are going for US$65 each and this meant teams would have to spend a considerable
amount weekly.
Travelling teams are now required to also book their squad and officials in separate rooms with no sharing allowed.
In total, clubs would have had to fork out more than US$10 000 a week just in order to meet the Caf Medical Committee recommendations. However, this was not going to be possible since most teams do not have the financial capacity to fund these health guidelines.
As a result, the growing consensus among local teams was for the 2020 campaign to be postponed outrightly unless teams got financial aid from Zifa.
The association received a stimulus package from both Fifa and Caf worth US$2,5 million and after initially dithering on forwarding the funds to the intended recipients, Zifa finally gave in on Thursday.


The PSL will now receive $26,5 million with each club in-line to get US$5 600 while the association will also pay the league $1,3 million for administration costs and will also take care of referees’ expenses.
More importantly, Zifa will also be responsible for all the medical expenses taking off the burden from teams.
With Zifa also taking care of most of the overheads, the PSL is now looking forward to commencing their campaign in September.
“Covid-19 is going to be with us just like any other virus so we should also be prepared to move on,” PSL president Farai Jere said.
“Obviously everything rests on the recommendations by the medical committee. There are a lot of things which we are looking at before the season can be satisfied to start.
“We will follow the guidelines that ensure everyone will be safe. We will submit our recommendations to the Sports and Recreation Commission for approval but if the government says it’s going to be a lot of risk, then we cannot start.
“The thing is it’s not an entirely Zifa decision but an all stakeholders issue which involves the medical committee, clubs, government recommendations and we move on like that.”
Zifa president Felton Kamambo said the PSL Medical Committee needs to ensure they have completed their guidelines by early next month if the September restart is to be met.
“Whatever plan they (PSL) have, they are supposed to complete by August 8 where they will give us recommendations on the resumption of our leagues,” Kamambo said.
“We are still hopeful that provisionally we will be able to start in September subject to the recommendation of our competitions team and approval by the government of Zimbabwe.”

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