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Will sponsorship deals last the distance?

by commuadmin
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Heather Chinan’ombe

GWERU – Clubs of all sizes have been starved of cash flow and risk insolvency post COVID-19 as effects of the pandemic are not measurable nor do health expects know when probably a vaccine would be available.

Sporting activities remain banned, a feat that has plunged plan into disarray.

Whether sponsors will be able to meet their financial commitments, or whether the game will be able to keep its end of the bargain and deliver matches to local audiences, remains a lingering thought.

This is arguably the worst phase to be encountered in Zimbabwe’s sporting fratenity.

First it was the giant mobile operator, NetOne that ditched PSL clubs Highlanders and Caps United having sponsored the two teams for three years running.

Other reports also indicate that the Rainbow Netball League could lose their million sponsorship package.

“Businesses are struggling and it has become very difficult for them to keep sponsoring clubs. It’s still under consideration but I must reiterate that sport may face a sudden halt if the situation remains the same,” said a source in the netball amateur league.

This is just a glimmer of how sporting activities have been affected by the lockdown.

In football, FIFA and CAF have made good strides to give member associations bailout funds.

But for Zimbabwe it is a sorry case, since clubs are receiving the money in inflation-ridden local currency.

Though the money has not yet been received, Division One clubs have received RTGS65 000 from ZIFA, while PSL clubs have been made to bite dust in a long wait for the funds after denying local currency.

What a dilemma!

ZIFA board member finance Philemon Machana was first to admit that the local game is facing its darkest times.

“They want their bail out in US dollars yet we are tied by laws of the country. We can’t pay it in foreign currency,” he said.

“We have not yet received the money from FIFA but the debate is already heated. What we will eventually do is not yet known,” he added.

ZIFA is tipped to receive USD1.8 million relief fund from FIFA.

“The money that we gave our division one affiliates and women football is part of the funds we already had in our coffers. We had scheduled to give it to the PSL but they want US dollars which we do not have.

“We are now focusing on consultations. We are consulting PSL clubs on what to do because we honestly do not know how best we can serve them,” he added.

In the heat of the CIVID-19 pandemic, clubs that are backed by corporate companies are smoothly sailing while the majority are suffocating.

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