25 AUGUST 2020
REVISED COVID-19 RELIEF ALLOCATIONS EXPLAINED
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has noted with concern, comments attributed to Premier Soccer League (PSL) Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Ndebele and other unnamed PSL officials published in The Sunday Mail
and The Standard
of 23 August, regarding the revised covid-19 relief disbursements.
It is disappointing to learn through the media about the existence of a document purported to be for the eyes of the ZIFA Executive Committee.
Further to the revised COVID-19 relief funds disbursement schedule we published on 18 August, we hereby further explain the rationale behind the revisions made.
The Premier Soccer League will receive its US$ 100 000 share. Every other affiliate received their allocation in a once-off payment and we resolved to do the same for the Premier Soccer League.
The other US$ 66 000 that had been earmarked for the top flight in the second tranche will now be channelled towards lower leagues referees’ fees when competitions resume. In retrospect, we realised that we had overlooked these officials while clubs in the lower leagues also suffered financial distress, if not worse than those in the top flight.
The revisions made to the allocations were derived from several recommendations gleaned from extensive consultation with all assembly members, PSL governors included.
The administration fund initially set aside for PSL was slashed because we also realised that there was need for equitable distribution for administration relief among all affiliates.
The most important lesson from this exercise is that we need to be proactive as a football nation in terms of generating revenue so that relief funds only come in to help, not to take care of all our financial challenges.
ZIFA reiterates that all affiliates and critical support stakeholders are equally important and no one is more important than the other with regards to covid-19 assistance.
The PSL depends on the lower leagues to function and all these affiliates are interconnected and they deserve equal attention. It is therefore not true to suggest that other affiliates have no administration expenses when they is abundant evidence of these running leagues year in year out something that requires administration input.
Further, it must be pointed out that the other affiliates, save for the PSL, received their grants as a combo for both the offices and the clubs under their jurisdiction. To the extent basic mathematics will show that the regions which received only US$124 000 have a minimum of 64 teams with provinces which received a total of US $160 000 have 160 teams yet the PSL which only have 18 teams received US$110 000. Clearly a simple fair analysis will show the PSL got more per Club or official than any other affiliate.
Further it must be corrected that the amount highlighted as US$66 000 for referees is meant to pay referees in lower leagues when football resumes from Division 1 to Division 4 while the $44000 attributable to PSL referees is for referees’ fees when football resumes. This therefore means that both the PSL clubs and lower leagues clubs will be covered from paying for referees’ expenses.
ZIFA therefore urges affiliates and officials to first seek and understand the rationale of some decisions before making uninformed comments. The current ZIFA board and administration has an open-door policy and stakeholders must take advantage to seek explanations on any issues they have questions on.
ZIFA believes the days of unnecessary bickering between it and some of its affiliates must be over. The few who still harbour fighting are urged to exercise restraint and seek engagement for the betterment of our football. Football is a brand which can only grow if its protected and safeguarded especially by stakeholders.
It is undeniable veracity that unnecessary real or perceived fights will only scare away the would be and much needed sponsors.
ZIFA will continue investing its energies on building a united football family and will not tire on this commitment.
It is of paramount importance to emphasise that no affiliate has the prerogative to vet and rank affiliates to the extent of labelling some non-existent yet no football had resumed by the time COVID-19 started.
ZIFA will thus put more effort in developing and nursing the unheralded and highly potential affiliates like beach, futsal and our schools football systems.
The amount we received from both the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) is definitely huge, but divided among the intended recipients, we can only get enough to solve some, not all of our problems.
It is important for all stakeholders to bear in mind that giving clubs relief funds is only but one of the recommended uses of the funding.
It is these unexpected situations which should teach us to introspect and seek better ways of accelerating the commercialisation of our game.
It is only the commercialisation route that can lead to total capacitation and sustainability of our football, should other unforeseen events disrupt the game in future.
It’s our responsibility to ensure that our game grows through commercial partnerships. External assistance should come while we are seized with own initiatives to keep the game going.
Only then will we stop fighting over relief funds again!
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE ZIMBABWE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION: XOLISANI GWESELA, COMMUNICATIONS AND COMPETITIONS MANAGER.