Sponsorship blues to hit PSL Big Three


Premier Soccer League (PSL’s) big three—Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United could be in trouble after the Sports Commission revealed that they want to “keep up with international trends” by banning tobacco marketing in public places.
Another team that could be affected is 2009 champions Gunners.
The supreme sports body’s stance is in tandem with the Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) and the International Convention on Tobacco Treaty which seeks to ban the use of tobacco globally.
Charles Nhemachena, the Sports Commission director general yesterday said they would soon sit as a board to effect the law.
He said: “We don’t have a deliberate policy on the issue of tobacco but as a commission we don’t allow the marketing of tobacco and alcohol in our youth programmes. But it is something we are going to consider when we meet as a board.
“In keeping up with international trends, I think we are going to adopt what other countries have done. We are going to have consultations with different stakeholders including the government.”
Under pressure from the anti-tobacco campaigners, British American Tobacco (BAT) discontinued the Madison Trophy in 2002 after hosting four editions which were won by Lancashire Steel, Dynamos (twice) and AmaZulu.
But cigarette marketing has resurfaced again with CAPS United, Dynamos, Gunners and Bulawayo giants Highlanders all feeding from tobacco manufacturing companies through various brands.
Dynamos — the biggest club in the country is being sponsored by Savanna through the Pacific brand while Bosso market Breeze cigarettes from the same company. CAPS are backed by Branson while Gunners promote Kingdom cigarettes.
The clubs have turned to the discouraged product due to lack of sponsorship. It is not just the clubs which are struggling to lure sponsors. The PSL is now in its fourth month without any sponsor.
International football governing body Fifa has since the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea banned the use of tobacco in public places as a way of making stadiums healthy.
It is expected that the banning of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship will result in a drop in the number of deaths caused by smoking, eventually saving a lot of people’s lives.
Every year, five million people die from smoking related diseases in the world — a number set to double by 2020 if nothing is done.