The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
ZIFA board member in charge of finance, Philemon Machana believes club owners should be pleased that they are not spending money on club activities due to the lockdown.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused a stoppage in the sport worldwide with many bodies and clubs incurring huge losses but Machana is of the view that local club owners have not been hit hard. He said clubs are bearing fewer costs than in times when the league is in action.
“I believe club owners should take the break as a relief because they are spending less. If you look at top leagues in Europe, you will hear them talk of losing billions in broadcast rights fees because football was not being played but I remember you (media) wrote that Highlanders was paid just over $300 for broadcast rights last year and that is the amount PSL clubs could have foregone in that sector. In terms of income very few clubs can say they are losing as they would be spending on travelling, accommodation, bonuses, stadium hire and other related costs but at the moment they are paying salaries for players, technical and administrative staff and maybe their offices only,” he said.
Machana said it is the players who are feeling the pinch most because they have to forego bonuses which is a critical component of their reward system. Herentals secretary Fainos Madumbu concurred with Machana but said paying players for services not being rendered was the most difficult aspect.
“We have a football and basketball team but we support them because we love sports, there is no financial benefit but we cannot say we are happy not to be playing because we consciously made that decision to fund sports,’’ said Madumbu.
Highlanders spokesman, Ronald Moyo said it would be narrow-minded to simply look at the situation from one dimension, adding the fact the biggest expense the wage bill is still running.
“It can’t be a relief because the biggest expense is the wage bill. Revenue streams that support expenditure are curtailed, but administration expenses haven’t stopped. Debts still need to be serviced, but commercial activities have been hindered again, sponsorship conversations have been frozen as possible partners want to see how their business will survive Covid-19,” he said.
An official from a PSL club who declined to be identified said while they were spending less it was for a product that was delivered and Zifa should not use that as an excuse to come up with a low figure to bail them out.
PSL clubs, lower division and women’s football clubs are anxious to know how much they will receive from Zifa who got a US$1,8 million package to rescue the game during the time of Covid-19-induced lockdown.
The money includes U$1,5 million from Fifa and US$300 000 from Caf.