HIGHLANDERS has sealed a $700 000 sponsorship deal with traditional sponsors BancABC for the 2014 Premier Soccer League season. The sponsorship is expected to take pressure off the former league champions’ mounting debt.
The club’s auditors Grant Thornton revealed the financial details at yesterday’s annual general meeting at Highlanders Sports Club.
In a statement, Grant Thornton said: “Without further qualifying our opinion, we draw your attention to the fact that Highlanders Football Club incurred a net loss of $113 276, resulting in a cumulative loss of $586 244.
This cumulative loss, along with other matters . . . indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the club’s ability to continue as a growing concern. However, the club has secured $700 000 sponsorship from BancABC for the 2014 season. This is likely to alleviate the impact of the ongoing concern issues.”
Bosso chairman Peter Dube said the sponsorship would greatly assist in the reduction of the mounting debt.
“The ballooning debt was the main concern in the meeting not only from the auditors, but the members as well. There were concerns on what is being done to reduce it. The sponsorship will help attend to some of the problems at the club. Some of the issues that will be attended to include signing-on fees,” he said.
Dube said they were expecting a significant reduction of the debt which stands at $586 244.
“The sponsor has taken up major expenses we were encountering. We expect a significant reduction in the debt with most of the revenue collected channelled towards matters that have been outstanding for years,” he said.
Dube said they were going to approach some of the people that they owed so that they come up with methods of payment. He said some of the debts had been written off, but still appeared in their books and they were yet to address that.
About $42 000 of Highlanders’ revenue last season went towards the payment of fines, which Dube said was as a result of bad behaviour by some supporters.
According to treasurer Jerry Sibanda, the $700 000 has been broken down to address issues of player salaries, transport, allowances and food.
Sibanda said $80 000 had been set aside for signing-on fees although they were still to negotiate further for an increment in the amount.
Some members raised concerns over the Highlanders’ debt saying it had grown by more than $300 000 from the previous year.
Former committee member Siphatho Ncube said they were concerned that the amount had grown from $157 586 in 2012 to $519 880 last year.
“We would like to know what made the debt increase by about $300 000,” he said.
In his report, Sibanda said the bulk of the loss was accumulated from the club expenses which included non-payment of sign on fees, Zimra, NSSA and loans.
“We have since engaged Zimra to negotiate on how to pay the amount we owed them. We also have debts that we inherited from the previous executives, loans and we also have to pay NSSA,” he said.
Also discussed was the issue of the $20 000 for a 26-seater bus that was advanced to Tshinga Dube about a year ago that still has not been bought.
However, Dube acknowledged Dube’s previous benevolence to the club and said the Bosso benefactor has offered to pay back the money, but had been tied up due to other obligations.