‘Restrictive sponsorship clause must be removed’

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter

FORMER Caps United dribbling wizard and football analyst, Alois Bunjira, has called for the removal of the PSL and Delta Beverages sponsorship clause that bars a direct competitor from any involvement in the topflight league.

This was after the PSL intimated that newly promoted Zifa Southern Region Division One champions, Bulawayo City, will not be allowed to don their Ingwebu Breweries branded kit in the PSL next year because it contravenes their existing contract with Delta Beverages.

Delta Beverages sponsors the PSL through its Castle Lager brand, while Ingwebu Breweries make opaque beer that directly rivals Chibuku, a product of the league’s sponsors.

However, Bunjira, who enjoyed personal sponsorship deals from a number of corporates during his playing career, believes such a clause is detrimental to the development of the game in the country and must be struck off.

“I think the clause that bars other sponsors from football should be removed. Sponsoring a club is different from sponsoring a league. Yes, the clause is there and legal, but I feel it goes against the development of the game and limits the number of corporates that can come into the game of football in Zimbabwe,” said Bunjira.

“Why can’t we take a leaf from other successful leagues such as the Absa Premiership (in South Africa) or the EPL (English Premier League), who are so inclusive and progressive,” he said.

Bunjira said in the South African league, one of the big four banks Nedbank, a direct rival of Absa Bank, sponsors the Nedbank Cup where the final is sometimes staged at the FNB Stadium. FNB is also one of the big four commercial banks in South Africa.

“The two clubs play in the Absa Premiership; Absa is a commercial bank. So, we have two clubs in the Absa Premiership playing in a Nedbank final at FNB Stadium. All three of South Africa’s top four banks involved in one cup final. The banks are partnering different brands and getting involved in one match. 

“Bidvest Wits are sponsored by Bidvest Bank and play in the Absa Premiership. Now imagine if the South African PSL blocked Bidvest Bank, Nedbank and FNB from football. Imagine if the South African league said Kaizer Chiefs cannot be sponsored by Vodacom because the league has Telkom Cup and MTN 8?”

He said Ingwebu Breweries has a contract with a brand called Bulawayo City, while Delta has a contract with a brand called the Premier Soccer League. “I believe different corporates can sponsor the different brands and co-exist in football. And we are asking why we can’t emulate other countries with massive corporate backing which do not have such a clause, but let more corporates come in and find space in football to share without directly stepping on each other. 

“We actually appreciate Delta for their continued support of football in the country. Delta has been Zimbabwe football’s best friend for many years and we would love them to stay in football for many years to come,” Bunjira said.