Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zim psl and supersport deal on the cards

THE Premier Soccer League is expected to seal a trial broadcasting rights deal with SuperSport this week before a crucial meeting in Harare on Saturday to be attended by club governors. It emerged yesterday that the PSL was yet to hold its mid year review meeting. At that meeting the budget for the second half is presented by the board member finance after consultations with a finance sub-committee whose members are Lifa Ncube of Chicken Inn and Thadson Zhou of FC Platinum. So whatever expenses the PSL is incurring at the moment are illegal.

Twine Phiri said the document had been circulated and signed yesterday and would be sent to Johannesburg by courier before they hear of the final outcome. Yesterday the contract was given to the PSL lawyer Tino Hove to peruse amid pressure from cash strapped clubs that the league must get the deal.

He said the PSL was under a lot pressure to secure the deal because there were three other countries eyeing the same deal. There is one slot for Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans are passionate about football and follow South African and world soccer a lot. Getting the PSL on DSTV could see more people switching from pirate stations to SuperSport.

Some PSL board of governors management committee were against the signing of the document.

They accused Phiri and board member marketing Eric Rosen of going it alone without the input and presence of Kennedy Ndebele.

Ndebele is the PSL chief executive officer and is credited with holding the feuding parties in the league together because of his transparent and good administration.

Governors are surprised why on most of the deals being clinched in the league, Ndebele is not involved.

Phiri conceded yesterday that all was not well and said that was not doing the sport any good.

"There has been a time when board members have seemingly taken a back seat on things. This is not good for the game and if ever there are problems we should discuss them and move forward for the betterment of the league," said Phiri.

He acknowledged that he had in the past failed to have the chief executive officer and other members in the know about what is happening.

The deal will see PSL receive $120 000 for the last 10 league matches. Of that amount 15 percent will go towards commission to an outsider who helped clinch the deal. The PSL is entitled to 10 percent.

The reluctance emanates from the 15 percent commission. A member of the league close to the proceedings said clubs and some management committee members do not want the commission paid because they believe Rosen and Phiri will get something out of it too.

"It has not been easy getting this far in this deal. There have been trips where I have used personal resources to go and meet the SuperSport people. The agent we have been using is someone with vast experience in sports sponsorship and marketing, he has done such tasks before. We believed he would deliver that is why we have been working with him in coming up with a proposal that can sell.

"There is no way I can go back to him with Rosen and get something out of the deal. We were voted by the clubs to serve their interests," said Phiri.

"A meeting to discuss the television rights deal failed to take place last Saturday as several board members said they could not make it. The chief executive officer Ndebele returned from South Africa with an allergy and could not travel to Harare. Only the vice-president of the PSL Joseph Zulu managed to come on Saturday," said Phiri.

At the weekend some board members said they were not happy with the clandestine ways employed by Phiri in trying to run the league.

They said the television deal was not the only one as the BancABC deal was his baby too.

"We are in the dark about the television deal, it's Phiri and Rosen in the picture. We do not mind being excluded but the trend all over the world is that the head of secretariat, the chief executive or secretary-general should be at the centre of such deals. Our case is peculiar in that there are so many things we ask him and he knows nothing about," said the source who did not want to be named as he felt he could be victimised.

It emerged at the weekend that clubs and some board members are not happy with the return of BancABC to the equation with just under 12 weeks before the end of the season.

They fear a fixture backlog could affect their fight for the championship or relegation.

"With just under 12 weeks to go, 10 league matches and seven cup dates, there is just no time for BancABC. They were bickering and the truth is no deal has been signed with them as we speak. The only contract on the table is the Mbada Holdings Cup," said another club source in the capital.

Phiri referred Chronicle to Cynthia Chizwina the spokesperson for the bank.

She could not be located within the bank premises as has been the norm in the last three weeks.

The Mbada Cup has four dates needed for its rounds which start with the 16 teams involved and its final is set for 25 November a date PSL was eager to see all curtains come down.

When asked for comment board member responsible for competitions and fixtures Tawengwa Hara, said his office and the secretariat would try to squeeze the games into the few remaining weekends and mid week dates.

"Clubs will have to bear with us. We will try to ensure that by 25 November we provide Zifa with the names of the winners of the league and those of the cup so that they are registered with the Confederation of African Football for the Champions League and Confederation Cup," said Hara referring all other questions to Phiri and Ndebele.

Two years ago Highlanders got into trouble with Caf when Zifa sent their name for one of the competitions before the season was over.

They had anticipated that a top finish would see the Bulawayo team take the offer to play in Africa.

Highlanders finished in the qualifying range and opted not to go to Africa landing themselves a three-year ban which was confirmed this year.

While there was no wrong doing from the Bulawayo giants, Zifa have failed to argue Bosso's case though Jonathan Mashingaidze made an undertaking that they would present the case in the Seychelles where Caf are meeting.

Ndebele said he could not answer as he had not been feeling well for close to a week. Besides the previous week he had been in South Africa and Zambia for soccer workshops.

Phiri said on Saturday he would present his case to the clubs and his colleagues.

"It has not been easy working with the guys at times but as a committee we must pull in the same direction for soccer," said Phiri.

Several clubs spoken to confirmed that they were phoned over the television rights deal at the weekend.

Despite not agreeing with the way the PSL is being run, they gave Phiri the mandate to sign the deal while the rest of the PSL politics would be ironed out this weekend.

While the latest developments have left him not popular with the clubs, his consolation is that the Supersport deal looks on the horizon.

According to the latest PSL constitution no vote of no confidence can be passed on him.

The membership will have to swallow its pride and leave him to do a lot of self-introspection and work out solutions for the sport which so dearly needs sponsorship and the television deal
By sbue
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