The Sunday Mail
AN impasse between Zifa and the Premier Soccer League is looming after the top-flight body rejected the association’s move to hike match officials’ fees.
Zifa has effected a hike of more than 100 percent and this could have severe ramifications on the staging of the Week 24 fixtures.
The clubs, reeling under a tough operating environment and dwindling attendance figures at their matches, argued on Wednesday that they could not afford the fees.
On Monday, Zifa notified the clubs of the hike through a circular from chief executive Joseph Mamutse.
Fees for match commissioners and assistant referees were also reviewed upwards.
The match fees were increased from $240 to $600 for the second, third and fourth officials while the fees for the centre referees and the match commissioners were hiked from $270 to $700 with effect from September 1.
A day after the notification, the PSL responded to the increment stating that the clubs were not in a position to honour the new fee structure, arguing that it was unaffordable in the tough macro-economic environment the teams are operating under.
PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele also felt the clubs should have been consulted before a decision was made.
Wrote Ndebele to Mamutse: “We acknowledge receipt, thank you for your letter dated 16 September.
“Please be advised that the proposed match officials’ fees are unaffordable and unacceptable to the Premier League Clubs.
“We are surprised that these fees have been imposed without consulting the Premier Soccer League clubs.
“In fact, it is unbelievable that the proposed fees are back dated to 1 September 2019. The PSL clubs are finding it difficult to survive under the current economic challenges.
“We therefore advise that we will continue paying the following match fees – $270 per match for the match commissioner and referee and $240 per match for assistant referees until we receive a reasonable and affordable proposal.”
The Zifa hike is only targeting the Premiership clubs. Referees’ fees for the second tier Division One and other lower leagues remain stagnant.
Previously, referees’ fees have been effected on a sliding scale across all leagues and at the same time.