Zifa reveal Covid-19 bailout package

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Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

ZIFA have allocated a $110 500 000 Covid-19 relief package for the resumption of football which had been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic this year.

This amount translates to US$1 671 732, using the latest official forex auction rate.

The money is part of the US$1.8m the association received from FIFA and CAF to assist clubs survive the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier Soccer League got the biggest chunk after it was allocated $25 675 000 (US$390 197).

But from that amount the 18 clubs will share $6.5 million, (US$98 784). This means each club will get less than US$5 000 directly into their coffers.

This amount is not enough to meet the huge salary and wage bills that have been accumulating in the last few months.

ZIFA president, Felton Kamambo, told journalists after yesterday’s board meeting that the association were committed to the resumption of domestic football.

He said the board made a resolution to shoulder the costs for the Covid-19 testing for all the clubs.

The tests kits cost US$65 each and the costs, for a club with 30 players and 10 officials, translates roughly to US$2 600 per session every week.

Kamambo said the football mother body will also use part of the funding from FIFA and CAF to provide medical equipment to enhance health and safety for players and officials.

The PSL have set September this year for the 2020 kick-off, pending approval from the Government and health authorities. The women’s soccer league, regions, NASH, NAPH and referees also got their share from the cake.

“The board deliberated on the money that was available. So, the distribution was done in terms of the availability, not what they wanted,’’ said Kamambo.

“It wasn’t enough to cover all they wanted.

“Initially, we had said we would give the details of the distribution on June 20 because FIFA had promised that, probably by June 15, we would have received the amount allocated to Zimbabwe.

“Unfortunately, we could not get it by that time. That’s why we failed to give an update.

“However, FIFA have finally allocated the money and Zimbabwe got US$1.5 million. We are going to get US$1 million of that allocation this month.

“The breakdown is as follows, US$500 000 is allocated to women and the other US$500 000 to the other affiliates. We will get the remaining US$500 000 in January 2021.’’

Kamambo then broke down the figures.

“The total that we are going to disburse is $110 500 000 in local currency,’’ he said.

“The highlights of our disbursements is that PSL is going to get a total of $25 675 000 (US$390 197).

“From that allocation the PSL clubs are going to share a total of $6.5 million (US$98 784).

“Their administration has also been allocated a total of $1 300 000. Then, in terms of Covid-19 baseline testing, we have allocated $4 800 000.

“We have also made an allocation for the referees where the board has approved a total of $2 925 000.

“What this means now is that when our league resumes, there is no PSL club that is going to pay the referees. That will be the baby of ZIFA. A further $6.5m has been allocated for medical equipment.

“What it all means is that it’s a cost that we have taken from the clubs, in terms of our preparation for the resumption of the games. ZIFA will be responsible for that. We have set aside some funding for that.’’

Women’s football, which was allocated a separate US$500 000 by FIFA, got almost their whole chunk after $32 500 000 was availed to them.

“From that amount the top-flight women’s clubs will get $16 705 000. ZIFA have also set aside $15 795 000 for the national teams, regions and other activities related to Covid-19.

“The other thing to note in terms of Covid-19 relief distribution, we have also taken into account our national teams that were in action by the time the pandemic started.

“So, we have set aside for our national teams $6 500 000,” said Kamambo.

The ZIFA president also confirmed that the board received and approved the report from the association’s competitions committee, and the PSL Medical Committee, led by former national team doctor Edward Chagonda.

“The board approved the season commencement framework which was agreed between the medical committee and the competitions committee.

“At the same time the board also approved to pay the costs of the roadmap activities.

“I am sure whatever plan they have, they are supposed to complete by August 8 when they will give us some recommendations on the start of our leagues.

“We are still hopeful that provisionally we will be able to start in September subject to the recommendations of our doctors and the competitions team and the approval by the Government of Zimbabwe,” said Kamambo.

Acting ZIFA vice-president Philemon Machana said the disbursements were quoted in local currency for the purposes of reporting since the Zimbabwe dollar is the official currency.