23 January 2013

Tanzania: Clubs Agree to Honour League

THE second round of the Mainland Premier League will resume this Saturday despite fears that it could be cancelled after the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) seized sponsorship money.

TRA froze the TFF sponsored accounts in November, last year, for the latter's failure to pay the tax deductions from salaries of national soccer team, Taifa Stars, foreign coaches.

The tax men's move aimed at putting pressure on the federation to pay the tax deductions from the salaries of the Taifa Stars coaches, from the time the team was under the tutelage of Brazilian, Marcio Maximo, who arrived in 2006.

The deductions that TFF owes TRA amount to 157, 407.968.00/-. The TFF had been informing TRA that the payment of the coaches' tax deductions was hardly to be performed by the federation; TRA stood its ground because TFF was the coaches' patron.

The TRA, thus, decided to freeze the accounts including the Vodacom Mainland Premier League's sponsored account which has over 300m/-. In response, the 14 clubs that are involved threatened to boycott the league because they argued that they would not be able to meet the costs of travelling from one point to another to honour the fixtures without being given their cash.

However, the TFF Information Officer, Boniface Wambura, said yesterday that the Premier League Committee and the 14 clubs met in Dar es Salaam on Monday and resolved to go ahead with it, which is sponsored by Vodacom Tanzania.

"They have agreed to play but have also attached their demands that the TFF should meet, pending determination of the frozen accounts saga," said Wambura, without mentioning the demands that they have been given by the clubs and the league committee.

He said the demands will be submitted to the TFF General Secretary and copied to the Minister for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports - Fenella Mukangara. The TFF has always insisted that they are not responsible in any way to pay the tax deduction, saying the coaches have been paid by the government who are supposed to pay the taxes for them.

Of the 14 clubs involved only Yanga, Simba, Azam and Coastal Union have additional sponsorship on top of the package from league sponsor's Vodacom. Foreign coaches that have trained Taifa Stars include Brazilian, Maximo, who left in 2010 and was succeeded by Danish, Jan Poulsen, who left in May last year, and was replaced by his compatriot, Kim Poulsen.

In another development, Wambura said the First Division League will kick off on February 2, instead of this Saturday as was earlier planned.

He said the league will kick off minus Small Kids of Rukwa, who have been relegated according to the league's regulations, after failing to honour two first round league fixtures. Wambura said results of all league matches involving Small Kids have been cancelled according to the regulations.

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