Zifa bailout: Clubs want US dollars

Godknows Matarutse

CLUBS and affiliates want their coronavirus (Covid-19) relief aid from Zifa to be paid in foreign currency and not in the volatile RTGS form.

With inflation rising daily, clubs feel it makes more sense for the stimulus package to be paid in United States dollars into their nostro accounts where it can maintain value.

This comes as Zifa has already started making payments to their affiliates like second tier leagues, women’s football and referees.

The association has received part payment of the Covid-19 relief aid worth US$2,5 million from both Fifa and Caf.
PSL clubs are set to hold a crucial meeting with Zifa this weekend where they intend to convince the association to have a change of mind.

Harare City chairperson Alois Masepe feels the association had done a great job by availing the relief aid but they need to be transparent.

“The little that we are getting I think is OK and we are grateful. But of course, the logical thing would have been to deposit money into clubs’ nostro accounts so that it does not lose value but all the same it’s what is there,” Masepe told the Daily News.

Another club boss also concurred with Masepe and also spoke on the need for the payment to be made in foreign currency.

“Look, Zifa had done a wonderful thing to give clubs money in these tough times but they risk soiling everything if they stick with their decision to pay in local currency. It does not make sense at all,” one PSL governor told the Daily News.

An official from one women’s club was critical of the association’s decision to proceed and distribute money in local currency.

“They have deposited the money into our account but it’s losing value already. It does not make sense. Is it difficult to just distribute money in foreign currency?” said the official.

In justifying the association’s move, controversial Zifa board member finance Philemon Machana said they will make the disbursements in a timely manner.

“This is for the purpose of reporting to you. It does not mean that everything that we are going to purchase is charged in US dollars. We will change it to Zim dollar then pay.

“So, the fear that it will lose value is not there because we will only start changing it at the time of using it,” Machana said.

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