Zifa court Govt over legacy debt

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Pet­ros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Edi­tor

ZIFA want the Gov­ern­ment to take over the as­so­ci­a­tion’s crip­pling debt legacy which had stag­gered to $7 mil­lion by the time the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion took over in 2015 and sti­fled var­i­ous de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s chiefs made the plea dur­ing dis­cus­sions with Youth, Sport, Arts and Re­cre­ation Min­is­ter Kirsty Coven­try at her of­fices in the cap­i­tal on Thurs­day.

ZIFA and Zim­babwe Cricket be­came the first as­so­ci­a­tions to meet Coven­try since her ap­point­ment and sub­se­quent swear­ing in as a Cab­i­net Min­is­ter on Mon­day.

The ZIFA lead­er­ship were led by their pres­i­dent Philip Chiyangwa, her ind­aba with football be­ing pre­ceded by an­other meet­ing with Tavengwa Mukuh­lani and his ZC crew.

“ZIFA is sad­dled with legacy debts largely in­her­ited from the pre­vi­ous ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee and sec­re­tar­iat to the tune of a neg­a­tive net worth of around $7mil­lion dol­lars. The debts are mainly made up of loans from banks, em­ploy­ees’ salaries, trade cred­i­tors which in­clude trav­el­ling agents, ho­tels, and cam­era per­sons, among a host of many oth­ers,’’ the As­so­ci­a­tion told the Min­is­ter.

“These legacy debts have made it very dif­fi­cult for the as­so­ci­a­tion to func­tion prop­erly and nor­mally with cred­i­tors, most of whom are hold­ing onto court or­ders and writs al­ways look­ing at ways of at­tach­ing any as­sets be­long­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tion they can lay hands on. This has made it dif­fi­cult for ZIFA to trade with stake­hold­ers as it is still per­ceived in bad light.

‘’There are var­i­ous sig­nif­i­cant gov­ern­ment levies that are mak­ing it ex­pen­sive to play the beau­ti­ful game at a time most coun­tries in the re­gion are putting re­sources into sport, our gov­ern­ment is do­ing the op­po­site.

“Ex­am­ples on this are the $4 dol­lar player levies per an­num that are be­ing de­manded by the SRC for ev­ery foot­baller in the coun­try right from com­mu­nity clubs like area zones, acad­e­mies, provinces, re­gions up to the na­tional level, gate levies of 6% be­ing de­ducted from all match pro­ceeds and col­lected by the SRC from all football matches.

“Pay­ments to the ZRP for pro­vid­ing es­cort and sta­dium se­cu­rity dur­ing matches, sta­dium hire of be­tween 15 to 25% of gross gate tak­ing charged by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and Min­istry of Pub­lic Works in the case of the Na­tional Sport Sta­dium, etc. All these State levies cu­mu­la­tively cre­ate a fi­nan­cial night­mare in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of football.

“The cur­rent ZIFA lead­er­ship have been weath­er­ing the storm. It has man­aged to ar­rest and keep a lid on the spi­ralling debt sit­u­a­tion by leav­ing within its means.

‘’It has man­aged to attract FIFA grants hav­ing been banned from re­ceiv­ing same at the time the cur­rent ex­ec­u­tive came into of­fice and this through a raft of mea­sures such as en­hanced in­ter­nal con­trols, re­li­giously pro­vid­ing au­dited fi­nan­cial re­ports, hav­ing its con­gresses as pre­scribed by statutes, cre­at­ing fresh re­la­tion­ships with part­ners such as spon­sors and trad­ing part­ners.’’

The ZIFA bosses also told the Min­is­ter of the ob­jec­tives they wish to at­tain.

“ZIFA wishes for a fi­nan­cially healthy as­so­ci­a­tion whose bal­ance sheet shows a pos­i­tive net worth po­si­tion. A healthy as­so­ci­a­tion must have a solid base of both non-cur­rent and cur­rent as­sets all free from li­a­bil­i­ties,’’ ZIFA said.

“A proper as­so­ci­a­tion must have football be­ing com­pet­i­tively played in all com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try right up to the Na­tional level.

“Proper football must sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­ute to the GDP of the coun­try through em­ploy­ing mul­ti­tudes of play­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tors, tech­ni­cal re­source per­sons as well as feed­ing the down­stream and up­stream in­dus­tries.’’

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