AFTER consistent lobbying and pressure from the Daily News, Zifa yesterday finally passed a resolution to honour their promise of providing a bailout to top flight clubs as a relief package during this coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Each Premier Soccer League (PSL) team will get $360 000 (US$5 600) as a relief package to mitigate the effects of the novel virus which forced the 2020 local football season to delay its start which had been set March and up until this day.
Initially Zifa, who are set to receive US$2,5 million from both Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (Caf), had set June 20 as the deadline to pay clubs and affiliates.
However, that deadline went by without any payments and after relentless scrutiny from this publication, Zifa finally caved in yesterday.
“The board also discussed the Covid-19 assistance; initially we set June 20 as the date to come up with distribution modalities,” Zifa president Felton Kamambo said after his executive committee meeting in Harare yesterday.
“We had come up with the 20th because Fifa had promised us that probably by the 15th they would have availed the amount that was going to be allocated to Zimbabwe.
“Unfortunately, we could not get it then and that’s why we failed to give you an update. However, Fifa has finally allocated Zimbabwe among other FAs US$1,5 million.
“We are going to get US$1 million of the US$1,5 million this month, US$500 000 is allocated to women and the other US$500 000 to other affiliates.
“The other US$500 000 we will get it in January. So, what we have done is that we are going to disburse $110,5 million.”
Kamambo gave a breakdown of a disbursement to the PSL with top flight football earmarked to resume in mid-September.
“The highlight on our disbursement is that the PSL will get a total of $25,6 million. The PSL clubs are going to share a total of $6,5 million then the administration has been allocated $1,3 million. In terms of Covid-19 baseline testing, we have allocated $4,8 million,” he said.
“The other amount that we have allocated to PSL is for the referees where the board has approved a total of $2,925 million. What this means now is when our league resumes it means there is not any PSL club that will pay the referees, it’s now the baby of Zifa. There are others like the medical equipment, we have also allocated $6,5 million.
So, what it means is that it’s a cost that we have taken from the clubs. In terms of our preparations to resume the games Zifa will be responsible for that, we have set aside some funding for that. These and others will give a total of $25,675 million which has been allocated to PSL.”
Kamambo said they are still hopeful of the 2020 football season finally getting off the mark in September.
“Then was the issue of competition and the board approved the season commitment assessment framework which was agreed between the doctors and the competitions committee. And the same time the board also approved the cost of the roadmap activities,” he said.
“Whatever plan they have they are supposed to complete by August 8 where they will give us recommendations on the resumption of our leagues.
“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.”
Zifa board member finance Philemon Machana also explained the association’s decision to make the payments in local currency instead of foreign currency.
“This is for the purpose of reporting to you (journalists). It does not mean that everything that we are going to purchase is charged in US dollars,” he said.
“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. So, even these money (figures) that the president is giving you, if we are to pay next week for instance and the rate has changed, it means what is 6,5 today can as well be 7 million so the issue of losing value does not come in.”