Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
DESPITE last season’s matches in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League characterised by poor attendance, the PSL says reducing gate charges is the last consideration they have in their bid to bring back fans to the stadium.
Most matches last season failed to attract crowds and why local fans have shunned local games has been a topical issue. Suggestions have been made with a reduction of gate charges from US$3 to US$1 viewed as one of the solutions.
The calls became louder when the Chibuku Super Cup final featuring Bulawayo Chiefs and Herentals drew a good crowd at Barbourfields Stadium. For the final between Amakhosi Amahle and the Students, fans forked out US$1, which saw the match being well attended.
Speaking on the sidelines of an induction Indaba held at a city hotel, PSL chairman Farai Jere said they had deliberated with clubs on the issue of bringing fans back to the stadium.
“When you are looking for solutions you should know that price is the last thing that you should look at. If you look at the three dollars that we are charging now, it’s a fair price which is actually below the regional prices for a match day ticket.
“We don’t want people to underrate the issues to do with the availability of critical stadium facilities like Rufaro Stadium in bringing people back to the stadium,’’ said Jere.
The PSL chairman believes the game should be taken to the people because the numbers at Barbourfields Stadium suggest that the gate charges are not an issue.
“I still stand by the fact that football has to be brought to the people. You need to bring the football to where people are. We need Rufaro Stadium up and running.
“At Barbourfields Highlanders versus Caps United was a full house at three dollars, it was the same Highlanders against Dynamos at the same venue, why are we not asking ourselves why the situation was like that?’’ remarked Jere.
The PSL boss says Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN), who were broadcasting matches last season have done a great job marketing the game but there is a need to widen means fans can access the game.
“We also need football on the radio. This will help bring fans to the stadium. Right now we don’t have football radio and people out there don’t even know the players that are playing in the Premier League.
“l have seen people wearing expensive Manchester and Arsenal jerseys, why is that so? It’s because the information is readily available.
“You will go to the rural areas and find rural folk watching the English league but they don’t know anything about the local game.
“The availability of information is a very key aspect of our football. Last year brilliant football was played but people don’t even know that. To help ZTN also need radio to come and make noise that way we will renew the interest in the game. Before we look at the price, we need to look at the other factors l mentioned,” said Jere. — @innocentskizoe