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PSL says no

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THE Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) has said the match between Dynamos and Highlanders will be cancelled if the clubs fail to comply with an instruction to turn down an incentive from their sponsors BancABC for Sunday’s clash.

Report by Brian Nkiwane

The financial institution pledged a $15 000 winners-take-all prize and other team incentives that include $3 000  for every goal scored, $5 000 for each goal scored in less than five minutes as well as the man-of-the-match award of $1 500 for the outstanding player.

The move did not go well with the league’s official sponsors, Delta Beverages, who felt that the bank is looking for cheap publicity and ambush marketing and threatened to end their marriage with the PSL valued at $2 million per season.

The league’s chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele released a statement last night, which clearly states that the gesture by the banking group was in contravention of the contract between the league and Delta Beverages.

“The incentives and packages offered to Dynamos FC and Highlanders FC by BancABC are not permissible under the current Sponsorship Agreement entered into by and between Delta Beverages and the Premier Soccer League in terms of Article 4.1 of the Sponsorship Agreement.

“Article 4.1 states that  Delta Beverages shall be the exclusive sponsor of the Competition (“Competition” meaning the Premier Soccer League Championship running over a nine (9)-month period from March to November of the same year, and comprising 240 football matches between 16 football teams which shall play 30 matches each for a PRIZE to be SPONSORED by Delta Beverages).

“Article 4.2 goes on to state that Premier Soccer League and the respective Clubs may, subject to DELTA APPROVAL of the arrangement and the sub-sponsor, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld, negotiate sub-sponsorship arrangements with third parties for the supply of apparel, accommodation, transport and other specific requirements to Premier Soccer League and to the Football Clubs competing in the Competition, provided that the status accorded to such suppliers shall be ‘official supplier’ of (identity item) status and not ‘official sponsor’ status which belongs exclusively to Delta Beverages.

“Our Sponsorship Agreement with Delta Beverages expressly states that:

“Article 11: Competition 11.2 Premier Soccer League shall ensure that the only major league football competition running in Zimbabwe during the football season shall at all times be the Competition and it shall not introduce any competitions or football matches which might reasonably be considered to undermine the status of the Competition without prior written consent of Delta Beverages with the exception of approved knockout tournaments . . .

“11.5 Premier Soccer League shall endeavour to ensure that matches in the Competition:

11.5.2 are recognised as Premier Soccer League matches and shall use its best endeavours to ensure that wherever possible, it does not schedule matches of a knockout or of similar nature at the same time as the Competition matches.

“Further, the League will withhold the full Castle Lager Premier Soccer League prize money of the defaulting Club(s). Such prize money shall be forfeited to the League.

“The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League would like to advise all its members to ensure that they fully comply with the League’s Sponsorship Agreements, the PSL Constitution, Rules and Regulations and other relevant statutes in order to avoid conflicts.

“We trust that the Clubs will guide and advise their commercial partners accordingly.”

BancABC group managing director Hashmon Matemera said as sponsors of both clubs, they were dangling the carrot to spice up the match and dismissed any reports of discord.

“We are just coming in to add flavour to the game which is set to decide the destination of the championship. As far as I am concerned, everything is still fine. We are moving ahead with our plans. We have not heard of any problems. We are receiving emails from football fans who are actually complementing us for a good job,” Matemera said.

Football experts have blamed lack of engagement of other football stakeholders when some of these decisions are taken.

“We had a similar case some time ago when Bakers Inn tried to do a similar thing when Highlanders and Dynamos were are about to play each other. Again, the confectionery company was the sponsor of the two football giants.

“In another case, we had NetOne and Econet involved in such a dilemma. Econet was the league sponsor while NetOne sponsored CAPS United and to make matters worse in that case was the fact that both companies being network providers, were direct competitors.

“In April, NetOne withheld Dynamos’ Charity Shield prize money after they were at loggerheads with DeMbare sponsors BancABC over which uniform was to be used in the final match,” said one of the experts.

Dynamos were forced to use their uniform which had the BancABC logo in front instead of the one that was provided by the tournament sponsor, NetOne, who felt hard done leading to DeMbare losing the prize money.

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