ZIFA Backtracks On Release Of Covid-19 Relief Funds To Clubs

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By Sports Reporter

ZIFA says it will now pay its affiliates Covid-19 relief funds in foreign currency, backtracking from its initial decision to make the payments in local currency after an outcry from local football stakeholders.

The local football mother body has received part payment of the Covid-19 relief aid worth US$2, 2 million from both FIFA and CAF.

Despite the hyper inflationary economic environment, ZIFA had last week revealed that it would start distributing funds to its affiliates in the local currency, a move that was met with resistance by its main affiliate, the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

The two parties had a heated consultative meeting at a Harare hotel on Saturday leading to Zifa backtracking on an earlier decision to pay in local currency.

“We have always received funding from Fifa in US dollars and the norm is that we have to change that on the prevailing exchange rate. That is what we had made a decision to do with the Covid-relief fund,” Zifa president Felton Kamambo said after the meeting with PSL clubs.

“Now that our affiliate has come up with some recommendations, the board is going to look at those recommendations. What’s on the ground is that the Covid relief money is not yet in our account, so we have room to make a decision in a week or so on how we are then going to pay.

“Their recommendations to us made some sense and we just want the board to sit down and come up with something.”

The Zifa president said it was his board which invited the PSL to the meeting.

“We had a meeting with our PSL clubs and contrary to what is being said it is us who invited PSL as part of consultation with affiliates. We discussed the state of football and the resumption of our leagues and quite a number of issues that we discussed among them Covid relief fund.

“We discussed at length on the distribution. In terms of the distribution, I am sure the last time when we had a press conference, I said these were the highlights but in terms of the full distribution we are going to publish it tomorrow with a full distribution of the amount that we have distributed to our affiliates.

“This is the starting point and we have started with our flag affiliate which is PSL and we will be moving to other affiliates throughout the country,” he said.

Zifa promised to publish the full list of how they are going to distribute the Fifa funds to all their affiliates.

During the meeting, the two parties also discussed the possible resumption of football in the country. Zifa are still hopeful that the league will finally resume in September.

“What we have done like I said in our last press conference the medical and competitions committees are looking at the resumption of our football. We have earmarked September for the resumption of our league but the committee of doctors and the competition committee will report back to us on the 8th of August then we will make a decision.

“We have not submitted anything to SRC, we will only submit after the day because we are doing a scientific check on the resumption of our football. We want to submit after the docs and competitions committee are done and we will have something to support our submission,” he said.