Zifa yet to clear air on player movements

BY FORTUNE MBELE

ZIFA are yet to issue communication on player transfers since the game was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

The Premier Soccer League was on Friday granted permission to resume activities by the government under stringent COVID-19 conditions.

Zifa has not bothered to spell out how expiring and expired contracts are to be handled as guided by Fifa when the association had earlier indicated football could resume in September/October.

There has not been an official position on amendment to transfer windows, which is likely to prejudice both players and clubs, with some big clubs already having taken the matter into their own hands.

In July, the Premier Soccer League wrote to its 18 clubs advising there would be no player movements since Zifa had not issued an official position and that they had engaged with the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe to come up with a win-win situation.

After days of trying to get answers from Zifa regarding the matter, the national football governing body’s communications manager Xolisani Gwesela on Friday finally said the association was still consulting.

“We are still consulting our stakeholders on that issue. We will come up with a position in due course,” Gwesela said.

Highlanders had two of their key players Brian Banda and Tinashe Makanda’s contracts expire in June and the Bulawayo giants have been paying their salaries and the two players recently received their COVID-19 relief allowances from the club.

Banda has since moved to FC Platinum and has started group training with the club, which is hopeful of registering him for their Caf Champions League campaign.

Makanda reportedly signed with Dynamos recently but the player has since denied that he put pen to paper with the Glamour Boys.

Highlanders chairman Kenneth Mhlophe stated that the club had taken a professional stance and has been waiting for Zifa to communicate through the PSL on how the issue of player contracts was to be handled.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck and football activities were suspended globally in March Fifa categorically stated in a proposal that: “…contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end. This should be in line with the original intention of the parties when the contract was signed and should also preserve sporting integrity and stability.”

In Zimbabwe, football had not started but Fifa further stated that: “A similar principle applies to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning the entry into force of such contracts is delayed until the next season actually does start.”

Clubs have players who signed one year contracts at the beginning of the year and we are already two months before year end without any football activity.

Fifa also made it clear on the issue of transfer windows.

“With regard to transfer windows, again, it is necessary to adjust the normal regulatory position to the new factual circumstances. Accordingly, Fifa will be flexible and will allow the relevant transfer windows to be moved so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season,” Fifa said.

On Friday, the Sports and Recreation Commission gave the PSL, women’s football and the national teams, the green light to resume football.

The PSL is to resume football under the bio-bubble concept but it remains to be seen if Zifa and its stakeholders have the capacity to fund the mini league programme, which has been proposed by the government under the said conditions.

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