Zifa court Govt over legacy debt
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.’’