THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) has backed calls by the Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa for local authorities to reduce their 20% levies on ground rentals and called on councils to improve stadia in the country.
PSL chief executive Kennedy Ndebele said some of the stadia in the country lacked basic requirements like goal nets and proper playing pitches.
In the last two years, Tripple B were forced to play big clubs — Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United — at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane, away from their home ground in Beitbridge. Last season, ZPC Kariba used Gwanzura Stadium as their home ground, Nyamhunga, had not been completed.
This year, newly-promoted PSL side Tsholotsho Football Club might be forced to play either in Hwange or Bulawayo as there is no stadium in Tsholotsho.
The PSL response came in the wake of a Harare City Council (HCC) employee, Sunny Mbofana, blasting Langa for making the reduction of levies call.
HCC has since distanced itself from Mbofana as he does not hold such a portfolio either at the council or Harare City Football Club.
“It is his personal opinion and has nothing to do with the Harare City Council and Harare City Football Club,” a spokesman said.
In his statement, Ndebele said: “The Premier Soccer League has for many years lobbied, through the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture and other relevant ministries for local authorities to reduce the 20% stadium hire levies on gross gate takings.
“The league is, therefore, in full support of Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa’s call for the reduction of the ground levies.
“Furthermore, we call upon the local authorities not only to reduce levies, but also to improve their facilities. Some of the facilities lack basic requirements such as goal nets, functioning turnstiles and good playing surfaces.”
Last year, PSL clubs forked out $309 649 for ground rentals in comparison to $406 022 in 2013. Referees gobbled $226 153 up from $198 268 while police charges were $135 405 down from $145 226 in 2013.
In addition, clubs pay 6% levy from gate takings each to Zifa and the SRC and 3% to the PSL, Comparatively, clubs shared 25% of the leftovers after all deductions in 2013, which improved by 3%t to 28 last season.
Clubs generally lack sponsorship and the country’s two biggest teams, Dynamos and Highlanders, have been further hit by reduction in packages from the funders BancABC.
FC Platinum, the fourth-biggest franchise in the PSL, has a state-of-the-art stadium in Mandava while Bulawayo has recently benefited from the Africa Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games where Barbourfields, White City and Luveve were upgraded to international standards.
Other stadiums in the country like Ascot, Chishamiso and Sakubva need massive refurbishments.