24 January 2013

Zimbabwe: ZIFA Seek to Meet FIFA Deadline

ZIFA, under pressure to submit to Fifa the austerity measures they intend to implement will hold another board meeting in the capital tomorrow with their proposed 2013 budget high on the agenda.

The board indaba will precede an assembly meeting scheduled for Prince Edward School on Saturday where the same budget would then be presented to the councillors for ratification.

Zifa have to submit their proposed budget to Fifa by January 31 with the world soccer governing body reportedly insisting that they would want the association to live within their means by matching their income and expenditure.

Fifa are not amused that Zifa's debt has soared to US$4 million and could continue to balloon if left unchecked.

The world body's representatives Ashford Mamelodi and Fidelis Banda were in Harare last month after which they warned that Zifa also risked losing financial support if they did not implement cost-cutting measures.

Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said yesterday the Fifa message had rang loud and clear in the association's corridors and after their finance committee which has also roped in former PSL treasurer Joseph Goromonzi, completed its draft budget, it would be tabled by the board and then the assembly.

"The board meeting on Friday will mainly discuss the 2013 budget because Fifa wants that out of the way by 31 January and after the board meeting is the assembly the following day.

"So the budget should also reflect the projected income from the traditional sources as well the new proposed inflows.

"The hallmark is on expenses and austerity measures so that we eat what we gather and once we have come up with a position which shows that our expenditure does not exceed the income then we are on the right track.

"In the absence of that Fifa are not going to offer support lines so the secretariat has to be strict in terms of implementing the budget," Mashingaidze said.

The Zifa chief executive said although both the board members and the councillors had agreed to forego their sitting allowances as part of the cost-cutting measures more still needed to be done and the association would scale down on its operations.

Mashingaidze, however remained hopeful that once put in place, their proposed Football Trust -- a grouping of eminent business people -- would help ease some of the financial woes that have haunted Zifa for a long time now.

"By the end of the board meeting, we should have names of the Trustees to sit on the Football Trust, the Trust is also something that our late patron (Vice President John Nkomo) always advocated for.

"That Trust will handle issues to do with reviving the FA Cup, national teams, debt servicing, marketing and merchandising . . . in fact it will unlock the value in our football".

Zifa, Mashingaidze said are also optimistic that their 50th anniversary celebrations will coincide with the association turning on the corner.

"We hope that at 50 years we will now have a new look association that would have serviced its debts, an association that will have a paradigm shift in the way we run football.

"We appeal to all service providers to be patient and calm with us as we negotiate this treacherous period of debt servicing.

"Whether you attach property or drag Zifa to court football still has to be there so while we understand their position the creditors and service providers must also be part of the solution to debt servicing.

"So we are going to scale down our operations until we have managed to live within our means," Mashingaidze said.

The Zifa chief executive said it was also imperative that the board and the assembly reflected on the support that they have been receiving from their president Cuthbert Dube who has often used his personal resources to bail out the association and poured in nearly US$1 million.

"We don't have money and that is not a secret.

"But we are saying from now on we will try to service something that is budgeted for only.

"It is also important to applaud the Zifa president for the support and the resources he has availed to football through Buymore investments and as the assembly and the board meet, they should realise that Dube cannot continue to stand alone for the family of football.

"So let us have a budget that is less dependent on Cuthbert Dube," Mashingaidze said.

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