Too little for a relief fund, Division One sides cry foul

18 Sep, 2020 - 00:09 0 Views
Too little for a relief fund, Division One sides cry foul


Fungai Muderere
THE recent disbursement of a $1,6 million Covid-19 relief fund by the ZIFA Southern Region to lower division teams with each Division One club getting $60 000, has been described as a mere drop in the ocean.

The region reportedly retained $520 000 for administrative purposes. The fund given to the Southern Region in late July was part of the US$1,8 million football rescue package from Fifa and Caf to assist clubs survive the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Andrew Tapela-chaired Zifa Southern Region resolved that all clubs that paid affiliation fees in full get $60 000 but the figure was a far cry from what could help clubs address the negative effects of Covid-19.

“What we expected and what we were given does not tally at all. The figure was just too little and we wonder why it was called a relief fund. There was never a reprieve for us because as we speak there are some medical requirements that we need to attend to before we start training. We are actually stuck on how to use that little $60 000,” said Hwange Football Club administrator Khumbulani Mbano.

Against the backdrop that their outfit survives on the benevolence of the Victoria Falls community, Mosi Rovers chairman Martin Mhlanga said despite receiving money from the relief fund there was still a need to source more money from a tourism community that has heavily felt the negative effects of Covid-19.

“The money that we got from Zifa Southern Region was not enough. Before we got the money, we had paid close to $12 000 towards our player registration fees. Meaning from our actual Covid-19 relief fund, Zifa subtracted the remainder which left us with less than $40 000. As such we were compelled to let our 37 players share the money and we now have to source more to cover other things from a tourism community that has been subjected to the negative effects of Covid-19,” said Mhlanga.

Zifa Southern Region increased its affiliation fees from $2 000 to $25 000 for clubs that were in the league last year. Newly promoted clubs were required to fork out $30 000 compared to $2 500 in 2019.

An Indlovu Iyanyathela official, Blessing Mbwanda, said while they appreciated the relief funds, they had hoped Zifa would pay them in foreign currency or at least keep the money and pay them when needed at the prevailing interbank rate.

“To us, in terms of salaries we are catered for and the relief funds we would have loved to use them to get equipment. But now that we are getting it now at a time when rates have changed three or so times, it might not really help much,” said Mbwanda.

Talen Vision reportedly returned the $65 000 Covid-19 relief from the Zifa Southern Region. A source told B-Metro Sport that the club sent back the funds because Zifa did not even bother communicating what the money was meant for.

“Talen Vision sent back the funds for the simple reason that there was no communication from Zifa. There was no supporting letter to inform them what the funds were meant for, whether it’s a loan that they have to pay back, they couldn’t just use the money, what if it was an accidental deposit?” said the source.

The Premier Soccer League got the biggest chunk ($25,7 million, about US$390 197) of the total relief fund.

Each of the 18 topflight clubs got an equivalent of about US$5 000, with the bulk of the money going towards Covid-19 tests for players and support staff.

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