Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
PREMIER Soccer League (PSL) clubs have to pay referees from their coffers when the Chibuku Super Cup games resume on Wednesday after Zifa declared that it had exhausted the US$44 000 allocated for match officials in the first half of the competition.
According to Zifa’s approved Covid-19 fund budget, US$44 000 had been set aside by the national motherbody as “PSL referees entire season fees”.
Zifa wrote two letters to the PSL yesterday notifying it that match officials’ funds had been exhausted.
“Consequently, clubs are now expected to foot referees’ fees and costs when the Chibuku Cup matches resume next week,” reads part of Zifa’s letter to the PSL.
Zifa followed up with a second letter informing the PSL that the national association had, in fact, paid US$47 000 towards referees, US$3 000 more than what had been allocated.
When games started at the beginning of the year, clubs were informed that referees’ fees were US$120 for the match commissioner, US$120 for the centre referee and fourth official, while the two assistant referees got US$100.
This means a total of US$540 was paid to match officials per game.
The first-half of the Chibuku Super Cup saw 36 matches being played, adding to a total of US$20 160 in match officials’ fees.
From the US$44 000 that was initially allocated, it means US$23 960 was left.
Zifa indicated in its schedule that it had budgeted US$65 000 for medicals and equipment, which covered Covid-19 testing for match officials.
In the event that referees’ Covid-19 tests were subtracted from the US$44 000, it means that five officials were tested at each game.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) gave the green light for those involved in matches to do antigen tests, which are cheaper than the PCR.
Antigen tests range between US$20 and US$30, while PCR tests cost between US$50 and US$60.
Even if all match officials did PCR tests at US$60 for the 36 games, a total of US$10 800 would have been used, leaving the coffers for PSL referees with US$13 160.
How this balance was spent, resulting in total expenditure shooting to US$47 000 is a mystery.
Without gate takings, PSL clubs will certainly feel the pinch, as the cushion they relied on has been removed.
It has also been established that the second tranche of US$66 000 that the PSL was supposed to receive in July and US$10 000 for administrative purposes is yet to be deposited.
The PSL only received US$100 000 that the clubs shared equally as Covid-19 relief funds and US$20 000 for administration from the first tranche.
Zifa received a total of US$1,8 million in Covid-19 relief funding, with US$1,5 million from Fifa and US$300 000 from the Caf.
Of the US$1,5 million from Fifa, US$500 000 was specifically for women’s football. — @ZililoR