Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
THE Premier Soccer League will this season have 18 teams following a resolution made during a Zifa Extra-Ordinary General meeting in Harare yesterday.
The decision puts to rest the relegation/promotion debacle that had threatened to tear local football apart.
According to Zifa’s website, assembly members unanimously agreed during the meeting that two teams will be relegated from the PSL for the season which ended in November 2016 while four teams will be promoted from the regional leagues to play in the 2017 PSL season.
The arrangement will, however, subsist for only one year with the Premiership returning to 16 teams next year although it was not decided how the relegation/promotion matrix will stand at the end of the year.
A final decision is set to be made during the Zifa annual general meeting likely to be held around June on the format the relegation will take.
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa had indicated earlier he would be instituting a National First Division league to ensure two teams are promoted to the PSL with a similar number being relegated.
The congress also agreed that there shall be an amendment to article 21 of the Zifa constitution which deals with the number of delegates who constitute the Assembly since the resolution made at the meeting automatically increases the number of delegates from 62 to 64.
The Premiership is set to withdraw its arbitration case it had instituted to resolve the impasse with Zifa at the Court of Arbitration for Sport following the resolution.
The local Premiership was thrown into chaos in October when the Zifa Assembly rescinded an earlier decision to relegate two teams and promote an equal number.
Relations between Zifa and their flagship affiliate broke down on 29 October following the move by the association’s congress to reverse a decision to demote two teams from the premiership and promote as many sides from the regional Division One Leagues via the promotional play-offs.
Zifa have been adamant that four teams must be demoted at the end of the PSL season and want the regional Division One champions to gain automatic promotion while the top-flight have resisted the stance, insisting that the October 29 Zifa assembly resolution was constitutionally flawed.
The Zifa Assembly in 2015 resolved to change the PSL relegation matrix to have two teams promoted to the Premiership. It was agreed that winners of the four Zifa regions would partake in play-offs and the two top teams would proceed to the top flight.