DISGRUNTLED Highlanders Football Club chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede has written to Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Bulawayo City Council mayor Martin Moyo requesting a review of payments made to police for duties at football matches and Barbourfields Stadium rentals.
In a letter dated June 24, Gumede wrote: “Sir, as demonstrated so graphically in the enclosures we forward to you, deductions made from the gate returns are so exorbitant that clubs like Highlanders who survive from gate returns are literally short changed.
Sir, it does not make business sense for us as Highlanders to take home a paltry 30 to 35% when we have so many expenses directly attributable to our running a football club.
“It is our view, that police can with your advice, review such deductions in order to sustain itself. We already have a number of former PSL clubs that have folded due to financial constraints. It would be a national shame for clubs such as Highlanders to fold. Naturally there would be investigation on how such a crowd, pulling club could fold and it will be sad if a State institution such as police was blamed,” part of the letter reads.
The letter states that the police are not the only ones to blame as the council is also charging exorbitant fees for ground rentals.
Gumede has also written to Moyo with requests for reduction of the ground levy.
“Highlanders Football Club is a community team through and through. It relies heavily on gate takings for most of its operations. It is against this background that we are kindly requesting your esteemed office to consider reducing the current levy of 20% on gross at our home matches to a lesser percentage. The current percentage and other direct match expenses are crippling the club financially,” he said.
“With all due respect, councils are to blame as ground rentals are the highest single deduction – at 20% on gross. They, too, are being asked to see sense before the impending calamity if the status quo is maintained. Sir, now we seek your intervention as a favourable matter,” he said.
Statements in possession of Southern Eye Sport show that against Harare City Highlanders made a total of $14 999, but after deductions they received $4 820,99 with ground rentals having cost $2 999,80 while $1 336 went to the police as well as other costs the clubs incurred.
In the international friendly match against Notré Dame University from America Bosso made a total of $3 919, but the club received a paltry $497. ZRP were given $556 while council got $783.
Gumede said there was need for the situation to be solved as sport is a source of livelihood.
“It is a fact that sport is no longer just for recreational pastime, but a business providing livelihood for many people. The success of sport creates job opportunities too many to mention. It is also a fact that local authorities have a responsibility to provide amenities for their residents to enjoy the same either for recreational purposes or for serious sporting engagements,” he said.
Gumede said he had earlier on written to ZRP Bulawayo Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Stephen Mutamba on the police charges at football matches.
The Bosso boss said Assistant Commissioner Christopher Gora responded saying they had referred the matter to Police General Headquarters for guidance.
Bosso club members encouraged their bosses to engage council and the ZRP on the issue of ground rentals and review on charges for police details during matches in an extraordinary half year annual briefing held at the clubhouse on Sunday.