Local football fans will have to wait a bit longer before the return of domestic football after the Premier Soccer League revealed that they have deferred the start of the 2021 season by a week to May 22 to allow the conclusion of negotiations with commercial partners.
The local topflight football season had initially been scheduled to kickoff with a knock-out tournament this weekend has been moved to May 22.
The PSL confirmed on Monday that the opening tournament, believed to be the Chibuku Super Cup, will now kick-off a week later than scheduled because the league have to finalise on sponsorship and broadcasting deals.
"The Premier Soccer League would like to advise all stakeholders that the start of PSL competitions has been moved to 22 May 2021. This has been necessitated by the need to conclude negotiations with our commercial partners and other key stakeholders.
"The PSL is pleased with the interest and positive responses we are receiving from stakeholders and as such we are working to bring the best football experience for the 2021 season," said PSL media and liaison officer Kudzai Bare in a statement.
Bare said the league was also looking forward to concluding broadcasting agreements for both radio and television to ensure as many people as possible watch the games from the comfort of their homes since all matches will be played with no fans in attendance.
"We endeavour to conclude broadcasting agreements (both radio and television) as soon as possible to ensure that our matches reach all football fans across the country. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.
"Further, we are in talks with stadium owners so that the stadia are ready and meet the minimum requirements before the start of the competitions. Our cup tournament will be played at Mandava, Barbourfields, Sakubva and National Sports Stadium.
"Our main priority is the health and safety of players, coaches, officials and fans, and we will work to ensure that everyone involved in our football adheres to Covid-19 health protocols. We are working with our clubs to ensure risks are assessed and minimised and all clubs are compliant with health protocols. We will continue to work in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2021 season," Bare said.
Zimbabwe's top tier domestic league was last played in December 2019 before the 2020 season was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However the local football is now set to resume with a cluster tournament next weekend while the league is pencilled to start on July 17.