THE Bulawayo City Council has turned down Highlanders Football Club’s request for a review of 20% levy on gate-takings at Barbourfields Stadium.
Report by Sukoluhle Mthethwa
The local authority said the club should have first approached its mother body the Premier Soccer League (PSL) before bringing the matter to council.
Housing and Community Services director Isaiah Magagula reported on September 27, 2012 that the town clerk had received a letter dated September 14, 2012 from the Highlanders secretary, requesting a review of the 20% levy on gate takings.
According to the report, records showed that at Independence the need arose to regularise the usage of the council stadia by football authorities in the country. Subsequently a memorandum of agreement of lease between the municipality of Bulawayo and Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) was made. Conditions for use of the stadia were spelt out amongst them was the payment of 20% levy to the local authority by Zifa.
In 1984, the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) was formed and premier football clubs became its affiliates. Records further showed that the ground rental issues fell under this new football regime.
The Premier Soccer League remained the authority that council dealt with on premier soccer clubs.
“As an affiliate of PSL, Highlanders should have gone through its mother body, dealing with individual clubs in this regard was misplaced,” reads the council report. During the discussion councillor Earnest Rafamoyo said 20% levy was reasonable, although it was not adequate to meet maintenance and administration costs of the stadia. Councillor Edward Ndlovu (Chairperson) said some local football authorities charged clubs for not clearing litter after matches.
“In response to issues raised the Director of Housing and Community Services said a Memorandum of Agreement of lease of the stadium was made between the Municipality of Bulawayo and Zifa, and not Highlanders/football teams,” reads the report.
The report also says that football clubs are affiliates of the PSL and ground rentals issues fell under the governing body.
In view of this, Highlanders should have submitted its letter through PSL, its mother body as dealing with individual clubs may create a wrong precedent.
“Thereafter it was resolved to recommend that the applications by Highlanders Football Club for a review of 20% levy on gate takings in respect of Barbourfields Stadium be not acceded to for reasons outlined in the report above.”