Zifa,PSL row over  2020 season start. . . as they say return to play protocols are too costly

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Godknows Matarutse
Sports Writer
matarutseg@dailynews.co.zw
THERE is no end in sight to the stand-off between Zifa and the Premier Soccer League(PSL) over domestic football’s resumption amidst the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic as both sides dig in on their positions.

The 2020 local football season should have commenced in March but those plans had to be aborted after the government declared a nationwide lockdown and banned all sporting events as a measure of curbing the spread of the virus.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) recently allowed other low-risk sporting disciplines to resume training activities while football remains banned.
For the domestic game to get a green light to start, Zifa needed to submit their return to play protocols to the SRC first for vetting to see whether they minimised the spread of the novel virus.
After many months of consultations, the association only sent their application and health guidelines to the authorities this week.
However, Zifa president Felton Kamambo had already declared that top-flight clubs should resume training next week while matches would start in mid-October.
But there appears to be no consensus between the association and the PSL on how football should return resulting in a cold war.
In a clear sign that the two organisations are not fighting in one corner for the game’s resumption, Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela was at pains to explain why the PSL has not been fully briefed on the matter.
“We did not say football is starting in October, what we said is that we are proposing to start training September 15 and then start matches (league season) mid-October. That is the proposal we have presented to the SRC,” Gwesela told the Daily News yesterday.
“What the PSL is saying I don’t know; (but) what I know is Zifa is the mother body. The committee working on the protocols has some PSL representatives in it, so I don’t know where this is all coming from.”
PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele said it’s premature for Zifa to come up with dates before knowing the outcome of their application before the SRC.
“We are waiting for the outcome of the application from the government and that’s when we can start discussing the possibility of restarting. I don’t think we are in a position to start framing dates.’’ now,” Ndebele told the Daily News.
“Dates are difficult to frame because everything will depend on what the authorities say. I understand there are protocols to start training then the protocols for the resumption of competitions which makes it difficult to set any dates.
“What if the proposals are turned down? And besides, there are a lot of consultations still to be done. On training yes, clubs can immediately start training but there are things to be considered like whether they can be able to meet expenses involved in this environment.
“At the same though, everyone can set a date but it doesn’t mean it will be possible, it might be a no (from the government).
“In as far as I’m concerned; there are some processes to be followed first which might include meetings and even training.”
On Monday, a number of clubs told the Daily News that they can only put in place all the necessary requirements to meet the health protocols to resume training if finances are available.
Besides the issue of dates relating to when football can finally resume, Zifa and the PSL are also haggling over disbursements of the Covid-19 Relief Aid.
Zifa received US$1.8 million recently from Fifa and Caf respectively but the manner in which the association has distributed the aid has created a chaos in local football.

Besides coming up with an opaque payment structure, the association has attracted the wrath of the PSL and their affiliates after converting the foreign currency into the volatile local currency.

Last week, Ndebele wrote to Zifa detailing the PSL’s disapproval of how they are handling the disbursements.

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