Sikhumbuzo Moy, Senior Sports Reporter
IN a bid to cushion referees and shield them from match-fixing, Zifa has increased match fees for Castle Lager Premier Soccer League officials by more than 100 percent with effect from next month.
According to the new fees structure announced by Zifa chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse in a letter to his PSL counterpart, Kennedy Ndebele, a centre official will now get $700, up from $270 for a match. The match commissioner will also receive the same amount.
Assistant referees and fourth officials will get $600, up from $240.
The increase means clubs will now fork out $2 500 per match for referees’ fees with effect from October 1, a development that will further erode their already strained budgets.
“The circular states that the changes are with effect from September 1 but let me hasten to say that this was the initial plan. But due to delays in implementing this, the changes will now be effective from next month. These increases were brought about by the need to cushion our referees against the ever increasing costs like inflation as well as other vices,” said Zimbabwe Referees’ Committee chairman, Bryton Malandule.
Malandule said they have begun engaging provinces and regions with a view to effecting changes for match fees for match officials in all the lower tier leagues.
“It’s a tight corner for both parties and we really feel for our clubs, but so do we for the referees. Fifa requires that we conduct at least four fitness tests per year for referees and if you calculate the costs involved for the referee to undergo these tests and the fact that one is not on duty every weekend, it’s a sad situation. Refereeing is now a profession, some of these boys and girls are not even gainfully employed, making refereeing their source of livelihood and failure to take care of them might expose them to some untoward behaviour which destroys our game,” said Malandule.
There have also been calls to wean referees from clubs by looking for separate sponsorship for them just like it’s now done in countries such as England and South Africa.
A referee in South Africa reportedly gets a flat monthly fee of R5 000, while match fees are pegged at R6 000.