The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
ZIFA affiliates will have to wait a little longer to find out how they are going to benefit from a Fifa US$1 million Covid-19 relief grant as the national association is yet to get official communication on the funds.
The Zifa board cancelled a meeting scheduled for yesterday where they had hoped to finalise the issue of how affiliates will benefit from the funds. Zifa board member, Philemon Machana said they had hoped to have received official communication from Fifa by yesterday for them to be in a clearer picture concerning the guidelines on use of the funds. He said while they already have their own wish list on how to use the funds, it was imperative they get official guidelines from Fifa that will dictate how the money is used.
Fifa announced a US$1,5 billion Covid-19 relief fund that will see each association getting US$1 million with the first tranche of US$500 000 expected to be received by member associations this month and the second tranche in January next year. Zifa affiliates had been concerned the funds could be diverted from intended beneficiaries with local football badly needing relief funds as they have been hard hit by the stoppage of the game. Some clubs such as Highlanders, Manica Diamonds and Caps United have struggled to pay salaries for players.
“We do not want to jump the gun and make pronouncements before we get clear communication from Fifa on the guidelines on how the funds should be used. Yes, we saw the Press statement but we believe official documents will give us clarity on how we handle the money. We had already written to Fifa with specific details on how they can assist us and the challenges we have been facing due to the Covid-19 crisis and once we receive the exact procedures on how the funds can be used, we will then issue a statement,” he said.
Fifa said an additional grant of US$500 000 will be allocated for women’s football. Over and above the grant, Fifa said member associations will be able to apply for interest free loans amounting to 35 percent of their audited annual revenues and in the spirit of solidarity, a minimum loan of US$500 000 and a maximum of US$5 million will be available.
The world football body said both grants and loans can be directed by member associations to the wider football community in their respective territories, including clubs, players, leagues or others that have been affected by the pandemic that has paralysed football and sport in general the world over.