As efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19 continue, including suspension of sporting events, it is with no doubt that cash flows have been halted in one of the world’s lucrative sports – football
And to that effect, some top clubs and federations around the world have announced pay reductions for their multimillionaire playing roster.
Local clubs are also not spared though most of do not rely on gate receipts or broadcast rights but heavily rely on sponsorship.
But with most sponsors slowing down operations after a pronouncement of a lockdown by President Mnangagwa, clubs face the same risk.
There has been speculation that some of the clubs are considering pay cuts for their players.
There is, however, hope for players if coronavirus do not recedes in time after reports of FIFA chipping in with financial relief.
H-Metro Sport spoke to a number of clubs representatives with Dynamos chairperson Isaiah Mupfurutsa going blunt that pay cuts are imminent if the ongoing situation persists.
He, however, said they will pay players their full salaries for now.
“For now, it’s too very early for us to be thinking along those lines. As is it is right now we don’t have intentions to do so as yet, we are still paying our players their salaries in full. Remember as Dynamos we have our sponsors who have been funding us, we are no longer relying on gate takings only.
“And for now if that sponsor is able to fund us, I don’t foresee is cutting salaries.
“But given what is happening at the moment, all businesses are being affected by the slowdown in economic activities due to the Covid-19, so as a result there is no assurances or guarantee that businesses will be able to carry expenses they are currently incurring because their inflows are also slowing down.
“So if our sponsors are also being affected, there will be no way of us avoiding that, it means automatically we have to do the same, our sponsors will be affected but this will be something beyond anyone’s control.
“So our action will be determined by what happens with our sponsors, but obviously players will be affected because there is no extra income through winning bonuses and also to the club there will be no extra income that comes through gate takings. So yes if this persists we are bound to feeling the effects;” said Mupfurutsa.
CAPS United president Farai Jere said they have embraced the situation highlighting they will, for now, giving their players full salaries while assessing.
He said it is a decision that needs management to sit to map the way forward and that is only possible after the lockdown.
“We are embracing the situation. We have now adapted to life without football. It’s not really fun for us but we are managing. We had to take heed of the President’s call.
“This is a global concern and that is giving us comfort. We know we are not alone and we have to remain calm hoping the situation will normalise soon. If you look at it, by now our local league should have started but because of the pandemic it was shelved.
“About players salaries, nothing has changed yet. We will give them their full salaries. We will wait to see after the 21 days.
“This is an issue that we have to discuss. It’s not an individual decision. “The good thing is FIFA is helping us with ideas on how to handle this situation since it is not only us affected by this pandemic. We will stand guided.
“We are employers of these people and they have contracts with us. We can’t just stop funding them. They also have budgets and families to feed. We will monitor the situation and stay calm.
“We are happy FIFA is looking for a solution to all this. The decision will be made globally not just for us as an individual. We will stand guided.
“We get something when the games are being played. It’s not much but it helps us on the day to day running if the team. It’s not the same, when football is being played life is better than this even for players. They get winning bonuses too;” said Jere.
Ngezi Platinum chairperson Silence Gavi said they have no intentions to cut salaries at the moment but the board will review that in the future.
“Firstly we appreciate the steps taken by HE (President Mnangagwa) under guidance from Ministry of Health and Child Care to declare a 21-day lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We believe it was the best way to go considering the risk the nation is facing. If properly observed, we believe it will go a long way in not only flattening the curve but also in reducing total cases.
“We had become so accustomed to playing competitive football at this time of the year. Therefore, the Covid-19 induced delay to the commencement of the 2020 PSL season left me as a person lost and lonely. Worse still the boys cannot continue with their training and conditioning programme
“We do not have intentions to terminate our players’ salaries and benefits at the moment. However the board and executive may review the decision depending on the duration of the lockdown and when it will be possible to play soccer again,” said Gavi.
Highlanders chairperson Rtd Colonel Kenneth Mhlophe said the players will see their full salaries, for now.
He said the situation will change if there is communication from the authorities.
“The lockdown is affecting us all. The team is not training we took heed of the president call.
“Yes, there is nothing work related that is being done at the moment. The coach had said they will give everyone something to do but there is noone to monitor the players.
“We will pay them their full salary. We would like to honour our promises with them until government, PSL, ZIFA or FIFA advices us to do otherwise.
“These players are not happy with the current situation, no one is. They will receive their full salaries as usual;” he said.
H-Metro has gathered FC Platinum are not considering salary cuts for their players anytime soon, unless the situation continues for a long duration.
Though there was no official comment from the club, this publication understands, Mimosa, the sponsors of the club are fully operational after being listed on essential organisations.
Harare City chief executive officer Tafadzwa Bhasera said they will be guided by FIFA.
“The coronavirus is not a club issue, it is an act of nature affecting football and sports worldwide
“We know that Fifa is on the matter, accordingly, we await to be guided by Zifa & PSL,” said Bhasera.
Bulawayo Chiefs coach Thulani Sibanda said life is no longer the same without football but is yet to know their future in as far as salaries are concerned.
He, however, acknowledges there is a possibility of being affected.
Bulawayo City chairperson Jerry Sibanda declined to comment saying a policy issue. H-Metro