A PRETTY topical debate, at least in Bulawayo specifically and the southern region as well as the rest of the country in general, is whether Mbada Diamonds are paying How Mine FC the $110 000 subsidy that goes with winning the country’s richest knockout tournament, the Mbada Diamonds Cup, for participating in the Caf Confederation Cup continental competition.
While Highlanders won the Mbada Diamonds Cup, and got a $130 000 windfall for such a feat, they cannot compete in the continental tournament because they are still serving a three-year ban for not participating in a Caf competition.
How Mine, as the losing finalists have been invited, and they accepted, to participate in the Caf Confederation Cup, a competition that involves the winners of knockout cups in respective Caf member clubs.
Recent reports tend to suggest that How Mine FC, who should receive $90 000 cash for the losing finalists, may be reluctant to make themselves available to the Mbada Holdings subsidy as terms and conditions that go with the financial support are a direct challenge to their sponsorship from their parent company, Metallon Gold.
All the reports carried so far in various newspapers have, however, been based on “sources” and both Mbada Holdings and How Mine FC have not said exactly what is happening. The Premier Soccer League (PSL), which runs the Mbada Diamonds Cup competition, has said very little which has not put to rest the debate over the subsidy.
First and foremost, whenever a club takes part in a competition there are rules and regulations that pertain to that competition and surely the rules and regulations governing participation in the Mbada Diamonds Cup should provide a solution or at least a way forward.
Unfortunately, no one has so far bothered to inform us what the rules and regulations say. Therefore, it is prudent to cite these:
4,11 The team that shall win the tournament shall undertake and guarantee its participation in the Caf Confederation Cup for the 2014 soccer season and also undertakes to enter into a separate agreement with the sponsor in relation to the sponsorship package and sponsorship rules of engagement.
4,12 Such a winning team shall not be obliged to enter into a contract as specified above if it already has a running contract that grants branding rights to another technical partner or benefactor.
4,13 While participating in the Caf Confederation Cup competition, the team that signs a contract with Mbada Diamonds as specified in clause 3,7,11 (sic) shall undertake and guarantee to only use a Mbada Diamonds branded soccer kits and any other merchandise provided by the sponsor.
The sponsored kit to be used in the Caf Confederation Cup shall be branded in front by the sponsor. If a team refuses to participate in the Caf Confederation Cup 2014 for any reason other than that it was also the league winners or runner-up and have opted to participate in the Caf Champions league during the same season, it shall be penalised in accordance to clause 9.2, 9.3 and 9.4 of these rules and regulations.
If the winner of the tournament by virtue of also being the winner of the 2013 PSL season elects to participate in the Caf champions League, instead of the Caf Confederation Cup the sponsorship subsidy shall be extended to the winning team for participation in the Caf Champions League.
NOTE WELL: Clause 3,7,11 does not relate to the subsidy or prize money but to the pairings for the preliminary round draw.
The rules and regulations are, therefore, very clear that the subsidy is paid to the winners of the knockout competition and where such a winner is also the PSL champions and elects to participate in the Caf Champions League the subsidy will be paid for taking part in the Champions League competition. In other words, the runners-up in the Mbada Diamonds Cup do not feature in the scenario dictated by the rules and regulations of the competition – leaving a big void which must be negotiated by three parties, at least in an interpretation of a man on the Chitungwiza bus, the PSL, Mbada and How Mine FC.
How Mine FC need to approach both the PSL and Mbada Holdings and indicate they are interested in the subsidy – it will certainly be handy given the huge cost of participating in Africa – and the three parties then sit down and negotiate the terms and conditions of the subsidy. Only when the parties have agreed on these terms and conditions can How Mine FC get the subsidy.
In brief, as the rules and regulations of the Mbada Diamonds Cup stand at present, How Mine do not have an automatic right to the $110 000 subsidy.
The issue of kit is certainly a stumbling block that has to be addressed, given that clause 4,13 says “While participating in the Caf Confederation Cup competition, the team that signs a contract with Mbada Diamonds shall undertake and guarantee to only use a Mbada Diamonds branded soccer kits and any other merchandise provided by the sponsor”.
This is where How Mine FC might be having a little of a problem since this may contradict the terms and conditions of their sponsorship with their parent company.
However, if Mbada Holdings genuinely want to support whichever Zimbabwe club is participating in the Caf Confederation Cup, this clause can be altered slightly to accommodate both Metallon Gold and Mbada Holdings.
One way round this problem is that How Mine FC feature inscriptions of both Metallon Gold and Mbada Holdings – one on the back and the other on the front.
How Mine FC can also use Mbada kit only in the Caf competitions, which is really the spirit and letter of clause 4,13, while using their Metallon Gold kit in local competitions.
The case of English Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur readily comes to mind – they have one sponsor for their Europa League participation and another for their EPL championship and cup competitions.
Moral suasion also dictates that Mbada Holdings honour their pledge, even if simply on a corporate social responsibility basis, and support How Mine although their logo etc may be less prominent than that of Metallon Gold.
Best wishes in the new year 2014 and may all of us be successful in the different sporting endeavours we undertake.
May the Warriors also succeed in the Chan finals which in South Africa next month.