from WELLINGTON TONI in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – TENSIONS in neighbouring Zimbabwe are testimony that the rift between a football association (FA) and its largest affiliate is not peculiar to South Africa!
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) and the Premier Soccer League (ZPSL) have fallen out over the relief funds the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) has advanced to the country to cushion the sport from the coronavirus (COVID-19) impact.
ZIFA recently received US$1,5 million (R25 million) from the world football governing body as part of assistance to distressed member associations reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conflict ensued when the embattled ZIFA planned to pay the ZPSL clubs in the much-loathed bond notes (ZWL), Zimbabwe’s current tender that came into place when the country shelved the multi-currency system used for years after the demise of the Zimbabwean dollar.
The PSL was set to receive ZWL25,67 million using the current bank exchange rate.
The bond note speedily loses value, hence the clubs demanded to be paid in the US dollar.
Dynamos Football Club, the country’s most successful side, and Highlanders, which enjoys the largest following, led demands for payment in the American currency.
ZIFA this weekend bowed down to pressure from the 18-team ZPSL after a meeting held in the capital, Harare, to discuss the state of football in the country.
Demands for payment in forex eventually topped the agenda.
Felton Kamambo, the president of the embattled ZIFA, said they would review the earlier stance on paying in the local currency.
“We got presentations from the PSL (Premier Soccer League). We have said, as our biggest affiliate with so many beneficiaries, we will look into their concerns as the executive committee,” Kamambo said.
Farai Jere, the PSL chairman, said the meeting was cordial.
The meeting was the first of its kind, held outside congress.
“It was an open meeting. Serious presentations were made regarding the game and possible start to the season. We expect positive outcomes going forward,” Jere added.
At the meeting, PSL urged Kamambo’s board to immediately reinstate his vice president, Gift Banda, who has been suspended since 2018.
He was accused of abuse of office when, as Acting President, he made changes to the senior national team technical department when Kamambo was on Confederation of African Football (CAF) duties in Senegal.
A disciplinary committee dismissed the case and the Appeals Committee also reinstated Banda.
However, ZIFA has appealed against both decisions.
The PSL said these squabbles are detrimental to the administration of the game.
Besides the FIFA relief fund, differences between ZIFA and ZPSL recently came to the fore after the association overturned the latter’s decision to dismiss controversial Harare Premiership side, Herentals FC, over match-fixing charges.
The ZPSL aims to resume the league in September, subject to government approval.
In neighbouring South Africa, SAFA (South African Football Association) and PSL are at loggerheads over the resumption of the Absa Premiership.
– CAJ News