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Zifa, PSL impasse on relegation, promotion rages on

By Ricky Zililo

The relegation and promotion impasse between Zifa and the PSL could be far from being resolved, with the former demanding the lifting of the suspension of its chairman Peter Dube among other conditions ahead of a meeting on the contentious issue.

Flamboyant businessman Phillip Chiyangwa
Flamboyant businessman Phillip Chiyangwa

Winners of the four regional First Division clubs, Bantu Rovers of Southern Region, Central Region champions Shabanie Mine, Black Rhinos from Northern Region and Yadah from the Eastern Region could wait longer before they know which league they will play in.

The PSL’s emergency committee spokesman Advocate Lewis Uriri said they want negotiations to be done on a level ground and questioned why Zifa handpicked the league’s representatives for the meeting.

According to a Zifa communique released on Saturday night, the league’s representatives will meet a committee appointed by Zifa’s executive committee.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) Executive Commitee met on Saturday (26 November 2016) and resolved the play offs issue with a committee headed by Executive Committee Member responsible for competitions, Piraishe Mabhena tasked to handle the contested matter. The Committee is comprised of Zifa regional presidents and PSL Emergency Committee members Messrs Kenny Mubaiwa, Advocate Lewis Uriri (whose suspension has been lifted) , Lifa Ncube and Lovemore Matikinyidze,” read the statement signed by Chiyangwa.

Speaking at a press conference in Harare yesterday, Adv Uriri said the PSL is prepared to have the relegation and promotion impasse resolved, but Zifa has to meet their conditions.

“We’ve asked for unconditional lifting of the suspension of Peter Dube who was suspended for carrying out PSL’s duty. The emergency committee deals with urgent matters not congress issues. The PSL can’t negotiate without its chairman and what the emergency committee will simply do is listen to what they say at the meeting and each party will then go and brief its congress.

“The PSL can’t have Zifa appointing people on their behalf to negotiate. It is the PSL who should send their own representatives. Also, we can’t negotiate from a handicapped position. We’ve taken a position that the committee has to reflect bargaining of power, if matters go to votes we will lose. We can’t go into a skewed process. We want five people from outside and a chairman without a casting vote,” said Adv Uriri.

Relations between Zifa and their flagship affiliate broke down on October 29 following the move by the association’s congress to reverse a decision to demote two teams from the Premiership and promote as many sides from the regional Division One Leagues via the promotional play-offs.

Zifa have been adamant that four teams must be demoted at the end of the PSL season and want the regional Division One champions to gain automatic promotion while the top-flight have resisted the stance, insisting that the October 29 Zifa assembly resolution was constitutionally flawed.

Adv Uriri said increasing the number of teams to 18 has serious ramifications on the league, including the late wrap up of the competition. He said the league was already negotiating for knockout tournaments with 16 teams in mind.

“The PSL’s position is clear, we understand there is a move towards compromise that two teams will go down with four coming in. The position of the league is that two teams come up and two teams go down and if that’s not the case we don’t play.

“Please note that the PSL is committed to having the matter resolved and have presented six points which have to be addressed to have this issue resolved. How do you deal with tournaments like the Chibuku Super Cup?

“How do you decide which 16 teams to participate? Should we agree that teams that are being promoted in the event that’s the case play their own play-off to determine who competes in the 16-team tournament? Obviously negotiations are premised on a 16-team league and how do you share the cake?” said Adv Uriri. Chronicle