Lower Division sponsor Ruvimbo Funeral Assurances struggling to clear 2023 arrears; TelOne FC yet to get champions cheque

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By Leopold Munhende

ZIFA Central Region Division One sponsor Ruvimbo Funeral Assurances is struggling to provide funds specified in its sponsorship package for the league, has learnt.

Further probing has revealed that last year’s Central Region champions, recently promoted TelOne, are yet to receive their share of Ruvimbo Assurances’ US$25,000 cheque.

A letter gleaned by this publication showed how Ruvimbo Assurances had promised to stagger payment of last year’s package in three batches between March and June.

None of the payments indicated in the letter sent to ZIFA’s Central Region have been honoured.

The Central Region was supposed to receive US$10,000 on March 15, US$7,500 on May 15 and a similar figure on June 15, 2024.

The matter has raised concerns with clubs in the league who say they feel hard done by the delays.

“It is an obvious inconvenience for us as club administrators. We have expenses in the off-season and even bigger ones when the season starts which could have been solved by this money,” said an administrator who requested anonymity.

TelOne, which won the regions ticket into the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) is also yet to get its share.

The Gweru-based club wrote to the Central Region requesting clarification on the matter. The board’s response shared with this publication indicates they are also in the dark as to when Ruvimbo Assurances will be in a position to pay out the sums promised.

“The sponsor could not remit the sponsorship fees by end of year 2023 as had been contractually agreed, citing cashflow changes brought by economic volatility in the country,” reads a letter sent to TelOne by Regional Administrator Gift Nyapomwe.

“The sponsor wrote a letter to the region committing to remit the sponsorship fees in a staggered manner between March and June 2024, however, to date the sponsor has not yet remitted anything to the region.

“Through the engagements happening between the region and the sponsor, the sponsor continues to give assurance that the funds are being mobilised and will be remitted soon.”

The US$25,000 a year Ruvimbo Assurances sponsorship deal was signed last year January after a tumultuous period in the lower-rung league where teams battled for no prize money but just the sole ticket into topflight football.

It is a three-year deal set to expire at the end of the 2025 season.