Refs in fees poser

02 Dec, 2021 - 00:12 0 Views
Refs in fees poser Sabelo Sibindi

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA says it paid about $4 million as referees’ match day fees in 60 Chibuku Super Cup games before stopping midway through the tournament claiming it had exhausted the match officials’ funds allocation.

There, however, is almost $1 million unaccounted for.

The money was from the US$1.3 million Covid-19 relief funds from Fifa for the 2021 Premier Soccer League referees’ fees.

Zifa allocated US$44 000 as referees’ fees.

Referees yesterday told Chronicle Sport that their match day fees are pegged at US$120 for the centre official, fourth official and match commissioner, while assistants got US$100 each, translating to a total of US$560 per match.

While the fees are pegged in United States dollars, actual payment was in local currency at the prevailing official rate (1:86) at the time.

With one match costing $48 160, a total of $2 889 600 (US$33 600) from $3 784 000 (US$44 000) was used in the 60 matches that Zifa paid match officials, leaving a balance of $894 400 (US$10 400) unaccounted for.

However, Zifa acting chief executive officer Xolisani Gwesela insisted that all the money was fully utilised “during the PSL (Chibuku Super Cup) matches”,

“That amount was fully utilised.

It was used to pay the referees as per the allocation it was intended for,” said Gwesela.

Xolisani Gwesela

But Premier Soccer League spokesperson Kudzai Bare said Zifa stopped meeting referees’ fees midway through the Chibuku Super Cup matches.

“Zifa had been paying referees directly when we began the Chibuku tournament. However, they stopped midway saying they had exhausted the funds,” said Bare.

Kudzai Bare

The Sports and Recreation Commission slapped the entire Zifa board with indefinite suspension two weeks ago on charges of maladministration and conduct contrary to the national interest, among others.

Meanwhile, the Zifa Referees Committee (ZRC) and renowned former female referee Sabelo Sibindi seem to have smoked the peace pipe after suspension of committee chairman Bryton Malandule.

Sibindi had been sidelined since sexual harassment allegations made by some female referees against certain members of the ZRC erupted late last year.

Sibindi was accused of having encouraged the female referees to speak about the alleged harassment.

It has since emerged that the committee, under acting chairman and former referee Brighton Mudzamiri, has buried the perceived differences with Sibindi and she has been invited to be one of the facilitators at the two-day referees and commissioners’ course for Southern Region Class 1 match officials set for Bulawayo this weekend.

“Facilitators are Sabelo Sibindi (technical), Patutshedzo Munyai (technical), while for physical fitness we have Khanyile Dlamini and Morris Banda,” Mudzamiri told Chronicle Sport yesterday.

Brighton Mudzamiri

Some Zifa Southern Region Class 1 referees are up in arms with the ZRC over course and affiliation fees.
Participants are expected to fork out $10 000 in course fees and $5 000 as affiliation fees.

Deadline for payment, according to a WhatsApp message to referees from Southern Region referees’ co-ordinator John Mutero, is today.

“We have been inactive since 2019 and some of us have no other source of income and suddenly we are expected to afford $15 000 in two days. How is that possible?” asked one referee.

Another referee said it was only fair for the ZRC to use part of the US$66 000 allocated for lower leagues’ referees from the Fifa Covid-19 relief to run the course.

The referees also questioned the wisdom of being asked to affiliate when they affiliated in 2020 and no football was played.

“We were asked by this committee to pay $500 in affiliation fees and provide our banking details so that they deposit allowances from the Covid-19 relief funds, but nothing came through.

It’s best they use our 2020 affiliation fees than treat us like their cash cows,” said the referee.

Mutero did not respond to questions sent to him.

However, Mudzamiri said the courses were arranged well before suspension of the Zifa executive committee and said the fees were meant for the smooth running of the course such as paying service providers.

“These courses were arranged well before the suspension of the Zifa board. The costs of running the course include Covid-19 Tests (PCR), medicals, doctor’s fees, ambulance hire, hire of Nust grounds, venue hire for lectures, accommodation for participants as well as meals,” said Mudzamiri.

He refuted claims that referees paid affiliation fees in 2020.

“Affiliation is for 2021-22 season. During the Covid-induced lockdown, no affiliation and course fees were paid,” said Mudzamiri.

Gwesela said he wasn’t in a position to give an accurate and informed response on whether the US$66 000 allocated for lower leagues’ referees was still in the Zifa coffers, as signatories to the accounts are on suspension.

“Signatories to the association accounts are on suspension so there is no other way I can verify if the funds you are asking about are still in the bank account or not. As it is, we can’t do any financial transaction for the association,” said Gwesela.

Share This: