. . . PSL bound by government freeze
. . . opportunity to fix Harare stadiums
Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
Domestic football authorities now need to revisit the contentious issue of aligning Zimbabwe’s leagues calendar with the rest of the world flowing the ban on sporting activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Zimbabwe is one of a few countries still running leagues on the March-December calendar while the rest are on the August-May schedule.
President Mnangagwa on Tuesday announced a government decision to postpone all sporting fixtures until the corona virus recedes and matches will only be sanctioned when there is satisfaction that the country is no longer at risk.
“Government has decided to postpone, curtail and cancel public events, gatherings and activities.
In that respect, Government has postponed the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, ZITF, all National
Independence Celebrations previously planned, and pending International Sporting Fixtures until the
threat of Coronavirus recedes. All these activities will resume as soon as we are satisfied that our Nation is no longer at risk,” said President Mnangagwa.
In an interview with H-Metro Sport Tuesday night, PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said they stand guided by the government.
“We stand guided by the government. We will compliment government’s efforts in trying to deal with the situation.
“So we will be following on their announcement and we work on that going forward,” said Bare.
The top-flight administrators were expected to announce the fixtures for the upcoming season after last week’s annual general meeting.
However, Bare said they will advise all the stakeholders of the way forward reiterating they will be guided by government.
“We will communicate on the way forward with all the stakeholders, that is in relation to the fixtures and everything involving the league.
“But in doing so we remain guided,” she said.
With no football expected until after May, this presents the football stakeholders with an opportunity to revisit the issue of the calendar which has been dominant for years, with PSL losing out to the majority lower division clubs.
PSL clubs, who are directly affected by an unaligned calendar, want to join the rest of the world on the August-May roster while the lower division clubs argue that the poor state of the stadiums make it difficult to play during the rainy season.
On the other hand, the long break allows stadium owners time to attend to the drainage systems and in the process, allowing the shift to the August-May season preferred by PSL clubs.
The coronavirus-induced break also allows room to fix Harare stadiums, which have been excluded for Premiership matches for failing to meet minimum requirements as laid out by ZIFA, on behalf of CAF and FIFA.
Venues like Rufaro, National Sports Stadium and Gwanzura are currently undergoing renovations and the break allows them time to be completed and be re-inspected, which again brings to the fore the need to push the season back to August.