Fears Zifa-PSL impasse might affect sponsorship
THE Sports Commission have urged Zifa and the Premier Soccer League to deal professionally with the contentious issue of relegation which could impact negatively on new negotiations between the league and their sponsors Delta Beverages.
Confusion is reigning supreme after councillors voted last week to revert to the old system which relegates four teams.
However, the decision which was taken after the PSL indicated they had no budget for the play-offs, has not been welcomed by some PSL teams who felt it was unfair as it came late.
There are only two matches before the end of the season.
However, the clash comes at a time when the six-year marriage between Delta Beverages, who sponsored the league marathon through their Castle Lager brand and the Chibuku Super Cup 16-team knockout tournament, is coming to an end.
Sports Commission acting director-general Joseph Muchechetere yesterday said football should not be thrust in negative light.
Muchechetere said he had a meeting with the association’s president Philip Chiyangwa over the issue.
“We discussed this issue with Philip Chiyangwa and he promised they will engage the Premier Soccer League. As I speak, Zifa and PSL are finding ways to engage each other.
“But what we have done is to encourage them to resolve the matter amicably. Of course Zifa can make decisions and we are bound to respect them, as long as they are in the best interest of the game, because this — is business.
“But what we don’t want is a situation where there are divisions as a result of the decisions that are made. Here the decisions made by the councillors are affecting PSL but the bottom line it that they are a family. I’m not saying anyone is wrong or right.
“As the representative of Government we are saying we don’t want sport to get further battering especially football which has suffered a lot from negative publicity in the past,” said Muchechetere.
The league had this year adopted a resolution made at last year’s annual meeting to slash the number of teams to be relegated from four down to two while the four teams that win the Division One leagues would fight for the two tickets for top-flight football via play-offs.
With the league now set to conclude on November 27, there is confusion over the relegation and promotion procedure.
Newboys Border Strikers are the only team that has been confirmed relegated while Tsholotsho, Mutare City and Chapungu are in the line of fire.
Black Rhinos and Shabanie Mine have been confirmed winners in the regional Division One leagues but it is not yet clear if they will get automatic promotion or have to go through the playoff PSL president Peter Dube said the matter is being handled at a higher level by his superiors at Zifa. However, a source yesterday said the confusion, if not handled well, could come with big costs. The source said Zifa also risked court challenges by the clubs that could be affected by the confusion. “What is happening now is quite unfortunate but people ought to follow their own constitution when dealing with such important issues. Obviously the affected teams will not just sit and fold their hands. “The leadership should not forget that this is the last year of the sponsorship for both the league and the Chibuku Super Cup tournament. If ever there was a time the football authorities were more discreet in their dealings, it is now.” Delta invested over $3,6 million to bankroll both the league championship and the 16-team Chibuku Super Cup from 2014 to 2016. In fact, the corporate partner has been around since 2011 when they announced their return to top-flight football.
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