BY FORTUNE MBELE
WITH competitive football set to return in a week’s time, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) has set harsh conditions for friendly matches, with clubs told to pay US$590 (close to $50 000) per match.
Clubs will also be expected to fork out for the match officials’ COVID-19 tests, which have to be done 24 hours before kick-off.
The conditions are also in line with the strict COVID-19 protocols, with the matches to be played behind closed doors.
A memorandum (standard operating procedures) sent to the clubs on Thursday sets the raft of conditions with match officials including the league’s member of the sports medicine committee expected to be paid varying amounts for the friendly matches.
“Matches (friendly) shall be handled by match officials appointed by the Zifa Referees Committee. The match fees are as follows: match commissioner US$120/equivalent; centre referee US$120/equivalent; assistant referees US$100/equivalent; a member of the PSL sports medicine committee shall be present at all friendly matches. The doctor fee for attendance is US$150,” reads the memo signed by PSL chief executive Kennedy Ndebele.
Clubs contacted yesterday preferred not to comment.
But most clubs are struggling financially owing to the effects of the COVID-19.
Recently, the PSL flighted an advert looking for volunteer COVID-19 compliance officers with vehicles to monitor matches as the league resumes on May 15 with a cluster tournament to be played in Harare (CAPS United, Dynamos, Harare City, Herentals, Yadah, and ZPC Kariba), Bulawayo (Bulawayo Chiefs, Bulawayo City, Chicken Inn and Highlanders), Zvishavane (FC Platinum, Ngezi Platinum Stars, Triangle, and Whawha) and in Mutare (Manica Diamonds, Tenax, Black Rhinos, and Cranborne Bullets).
Two top teams in the groups will clash in the quarter-finals. The main league is set to start on July 17.
Ndebele said for the friendly matches, clubs are expected to abide by the COVID-19 regulations and all players and official are expected to test for the virus before every game.
“This serves to advise PSL clubs are required to follow the laid down protocols when having friendly matches. Requests for friendly matches are to be submitted to the PSL offices on Tuesdays only to allow us sufficient time to process the applications. All players, technical team, and match officials are to be tested for COVID-19 24 hours before the match. The tests must be monitored by the COVID-19 PSL compliance officers. Clubs shall be responsible for COVID-19 testing of the match officials. Matches are to be played behind closed doors,” Ndebele said.
The PSL chief added that the stadium and dressing rooms hosting the match must be sanitised before the match, at half time and after the match, while the use of showers is banned, with only starting players to use the dressing rooms to achieve social distancing.
All people entering the stadium will be subjected to temperature checks with match balls, goalposts, and nets to be disinfected and sanitised with substitutes and other support staff expected to sit behind their team benches while practising social distancing and wearing masks.
Sharing of water bottles, swapping of shirts and ball will not be entertained at the friendly matches.
The memorandum was copied to the PSL chairman, his deputy, the league’s 18 governors, and members of the emergency committees.
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