Fears Zifa-PSL im­passe might af­fect spon­sor­ship

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ed­die Chikamhi

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.

Brian Chari’s maiden Test fifty led Zim­babwe’s re­vival late on the sec­ond day. AP

Joseph Muchechetere

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