PSL, Zifa tiff over relief funds spirals. . .league seeks increase in Covid-19 relief aid

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Godknows Matarutse

THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) has called on Zifa to review the Covid-19 relief allocation as the friction between the two bodies continues.

In June, Zifa received US$1,8 million from both Fifa and Caf which should go towards ensuring clubs and all affiliates are able to withstand the financial losses caused by the pandemic.

Since March, local football has been in limbo after the government banned all sporting events to curb the spread of the virus.

With no matches taking place, most teams have suffered financially and this is why Fifa and Caf decided to assist football associations with the Covid-19 relief fund.

However, Zifa and the PSL have been locked in a heated dispute over the disbursement of the package.

The row has now escalated after PSL chief executive officer Kenny Ndebele recently wrote a letter to his Zifa counterpart, Joseph Mamutse, demanding a review of their allocation.

“The PSL appreciates that Zifa has the sole prerogative to disburse the Fifa Covid-19 relief funds. It is appreciated that the funds have to benefit all the association’s affiliates,” Ndebele wrote in the letter dated August 27 this year.
“The league is of the view that the allocation of a total sum of US$110 000 to the 18 PSL clubs and the league administration is not adequate to start the PSL competitions.

“It is our view that the association reviews the proposed disbursement, and increases the allocations to PSL and its clubs.

“Our proposal is that you revert to the July 20, 2020 allocation which was as follows: July 2020, PSL Clubs: US$100 000, PSL administration: US$20 000. January 2021, Premier Soccer League Clubs: US$66 000.”

When Zifa reviewed the PSL’s allocation, the association insisted that it will take care of the referees and coaches’ expenses, a move the league is now resisting.

“We further request that the funds allocated to the referees and coaches in the total sum of US$120 000 be allocated to the Premier Soccer League Players’ salaries and allowances,” Ndebele wrote.

“We propose to pay the referees fees from gate takings when we resume competitions.”

The PSL boss revealed that most teams are struggling to meet their contractual obligations with players and staff owing to the long layoff.

“We trust you will appreciate that the PSL and its member clubs employ more than 750 professional employees,” Ndebele wrote.

“These clubs and the league have been paying salaries and other related expenses for their employees since January 2020.

“Some clubs have been failing to meet monthly salary payments.
“The league has no sponsor, as the partnership between the PSL and Delta Beverages expired on December 31, 2019.”

In June, CAPS United players staged a protest at the business premises of club vice-president Nhamo Tutisani, demanding their outstanding salaries.

Police had to be called in to diffuse the situation as tempers between the players and Tutisani reached fever pitch.
Besides requesting Zifa to reverse their decision, the PSL is also asking for their share of the Fifa grants which are outside of the Covid-19 relief aid.

“During the consultative meeting held on July 18, 2020 between the Zifa executive committee and the PSL governors it was agreed that Zifa will revert to the PSL on the disbursements of the Fifa Forward 2.0 template,” Ndebele wrote.

“We request that the sum of US$50 000 be paid to the PSL. We look forward to hear from you at your earliest convenience.”

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