JUST when it seemed Zifa and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) had resolved their differences in the wake of the long-running relegation/promotion impasse, the two parties are set for another showdown — this time in a battle for control of income generated from touchline advertising.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
In a letter gleaned by The Standardsport, the Philip Chiyangwa-led local football mother body, through its board member finance Philimon Machana on Friday wrote to the PSL chief excecutive officer Kenny Ndebele declaring that its finance department was taking control of any agreements reached between clubs, stadia owners and advertisers.
“The Zifa board has observed that its product, football, is being sold by other parties for their own benefit without the involvement of Zifa or its chosen representatives in such transactions,” Machana wrote.
“Further, we have noted with concern that various stadia owners have gone on to agree commercial terms with private players to sale advertising space during Zifa-sanctioned matches in clear violation of existing laws that govern football and general property rights.”
“This letter advises that no match can now be played in Zimbabwe under the auspices of Zifa and their affiliates with illegal touchline advertisement within the stadium. With [we], thus, ask PSL to convey this message to clubs and stadia owners. Anyone who wants to benefit from touchline advertising shall contact the Zifa finance department until such a time that the private player has been contracted to carry out the function on its behalf.
“In light of this, all PSL clubs and the PSL are requested to enforce the same without fail in the same way Zifa is expected to enforce such on behalf of Fifa and CAF in international matches.”
Zifa further indicated that local clubs and the topflight league would need to seek its approval before signing any sponsorship deal.
“Equally, Zifa must have right and input in all domestic and international sponsorship agreements that individual clubs and or PSL enters, with such sponsors in particular the marketing/advertising rights that may accrue so that the association or its affiliates are not shortchanged. We are willing to sit down with you, PSL clubs and stadia owners, to further clarify on this matter should you find it necessary,” Zifa wrote.
The move by Zifa comes barely a week after Delta Beverages started negotiations with the PSL regarding the sponsorship renewal ahead of the 2017 season which is expected to start in April.
The PSL were yet to respond to Zifa’s letter, while Ndebele was not available for comment yesterday.
However, sources told Standardsport yesterday that the latest move was expected to be met with resistance from local authorities, who own most stadiums in the country, particularly in Harare and Bulawayo.
PSL clubs are also likely to resist any moves by Zifa to micromanage their affairs as it could scupper their relationships with sponsors.
Local authorities contracted an advertising company, Askeland Media and Advertising, to handle touchline advertising on their behalf at stadiums.
In fact, PSL clubs were until 2012 not receiving advertising income from touchline advertising until an agreement for a share of income was reached with the topflight league after a 12-year battle.
The PSL has also in the past negotiated for their sponsors Delta Beverages and individual club sponsors to be awarded fixed space allocations at local stadia.