Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA Southern Region has defended its decision to hike Division One League affiliation fees by more than 1 000 percent, saying the fees previously pegged in US dollars are meant to prepare teams for a taxing season.
The Southern Region raised affiliation fees to $25 000 for clubs that were in the league last season, up from $2 000. Newly promoted clubs are set to fork out $30 000 compared to $2 500 paid by new entrants last year.
Newly promoted teams to the Division One League are Zifa Bulawayo Province Division Two champions Bulawayo Chiefs and Quality Foods as well as Ingagula FC from Hwange and Trumus Warriors from Victoria Falls who competed in the Zifa Matabeleland North Division Two League.
Clubs that spoke to Chronicle Sport expressed shock at the new affiliation fees announced at the weekend.
The major concern most clubs raised was that they were not consulted before the increases. They also questioned the rationale for increasing fees in a league that doesn’t have a sponsor and has no prize money.
Andrew Tapela, Zifa Southern Region chairman, defended the affiliation fees hike, saying it is meant to enable the day-to-day operations of their offices as well as to pay the region’s affiliation to the Zifa national office.
“Ideally, we’re saying anyone who should be playing in Division One in preparation for the Premiership should be financially stable to sustain the demands of PSL, which is financially demanding. We’re saying let’s have people who are capable enough to sustain themselves. We must have teams that will be able to compete throughout the season, fulfil their games and responsibilities. For those that can’t, the question is, are they prepared enough to compete in the Premiership? The other thing is, if you look at it, we’re not really increasing the affiliation fee because they were pegged in US dollars and the new one is almost the same amount using the interbank rate,” said Tapela.
Hiking affiliation fees is not peculiar to the Southern Region as the Zifa Northern Region has set its affiliation fee at $30 000 for old clubs and $50 000 for new teams and the Central Region is contemplating pegging fees at $30 000 for old clubs and $55 000 for new entrants.
“Look, there are rentals and other day-to-day operations that affect the region and we need to be viable at the end of the day. The final affiliation fee will be adopted at the annual general meeting on January 26,” said Thomas Marambanyika, a Zifa Central Region board member. – @ZililoR