NEWLY-promoted Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) club Dongo Sawmills face a ban from the top flight as its ownership structure and that off fellow PSL compatriots Buffaloes contravenes the Club Licensing Regulations.
Zifa, as the sole body that issues licences, has warned that such practices will not be tolerated if football in Zimbabwe has to reach professional levels.
Dongo was promoted into the top flight from the Zifa Eastern Region Division One League and will play their home games at Vhengere Stadium in Rusape, if they are granted a licence.
As a matter of procedure, Zifa has to write to the PSL informing them of the four teams from their region that will take part in the 2015 PSL. At this stage, Zifa is yet to do so.
The club is owned by Francis Dongo, a Manicaland businessman. Dongo is also the vice-chairman of fellow PSL side Buffaloes, which is chaired by Mutare businessman Nhlanganiso Matangaidze.
Two clubs that have already wriggled their way out of the club licensing tentacles are Hwahwa Prison and Flame Lily which belong to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) and have clearly defined ownership structures that do not violate regulations.
ZPCS, as the holding body, does not interfere in the management of the two teams with Hwahwa now an almost community-based team.
This means ZPCS has control of Flame Lily, which is based at headquarters in Harare while Hwahwa runs its own affairs from Gweru without interference.
According to the club licensing system Article 9.2.1 A criteria which deals with ownership and control of clubs, the licence applicant must submit a legally valid declaration outlining the ownership structure and control mechanism of the club and confirming the following:
No natural or legal person involved in the management, administration and/or sporting performance of the club, either directly or indirectly:
holds or deals in the securities or shares of any other club participating in the same competition; or
holds a majority of the shareholders’ voting rights of any other club participating in the same competition; or
has the right to appoint or remove a majority of the members of the administrative, management or supervisory body of any other club participating in the same competition; or
is a shareholder and alone controls a majority of the shareholders’ voting rights of any other club participating in the same competition pursuant to an agreement entered into with other shareholders of the club in question; or
is a member of any other club participating in the same competition; or
is involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management, administration and/or sporting performance of any other club participating in the same competition; or
has any power whatsoever in the management, administration and/or sporting performance of any other club participating in the same competition.
Zifa spokesman Xolisani Gwesela said they would not allow that.
“Club licensing regulations don’t permit that and we will uphold those regulations. Clubs must appreciate and embrace club ownership.
“Going forward, we will establish the ownership structure of both Buffaloes and Dongo Sawmills before the season starts and will then announce our position,” Gwesela said.
The league is expected to start on March 7 and Zifa will hold a club licensing workshop before the end of the January to conscientise clubs on these issues.
The Mbada Diamonds Cup is due to the season opener, valued at $250 000, but the company is yet to confirm the dates. This year’s competition, if it eventually takes off, will involve four teams-two time winners Dynamos, ZPC Kariba, Caps United and FC Platinum.
The other cup competition that is waiting for confirmation is the One Wallet Cup for the top eight only, sponsored by NetOne, but the current deal with the PSL expires next season having been signed last year.
Triangle were the inaugural winners of the competition last season after beating Dynamos on penalties, but will not be able to defend their cup as they finished in ninth place.
Teams that qualified for the One Wallet Cup are Dynamos, ZPC Kariba, Caps United, FC Platinum, Highlanders, Chicken Inn, Hwange and How Mine.
The PSL annual general meeting (AGM) — a gathering of all club presidents/chairpersons, will take place a week before the scheduled kick-off of the league where annual budgets and rules and regulations will be discussed and endorsed.
Last year, ZPC Kariba failed to take part in the PSL AGM as they had not been cleared by their parent company to participate.