By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Highlanders and Dynamos are not raising the red flag on contractual issues with their sponsors and players despite world governing body Fifa last week opening up avenues for clubs to renegotiate agreements due to grounding of competitions by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fifa released a series of recommendations and guidelines that sought to address key practical issues arising from the pandemic, especially regarding player contracts and the transfer system.
A document on the Fifa guidelines to address the legal consequences of Covid-19 was then produced with Fifa noting that player contracts usually end when the season ends.
Fifa then proposed that contracts be extended, for those leagues that are already underway, until the season actually ends, adding that it should be in line with the original intention of the parties when the contract was signed and it should also preserve sporting integrity and stability.
The football governing body said a similar principle applied to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning such contracts come into legal force when the new season actually starts.
It is the last part that talks about seasons which are yet to start that has been the talking point in Zimbabwe, whose season was originally scheduled to kick-off last month.
One administrator last week told Chronicle Sport that while it will be callous and insensitive to freeze players’ contracts, it was still legally possible for the sponsors to decide against paying salaries until the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season officially gets underway.
He said it was a fact that by the end of April, clubs would be paying their fourth salaries since the beginning of the year with sponsors not getting any return on investment.
“We are not in panic mode, not at all. There is no fear,” said Highlanders public relations officer Ronald Moyo.
“Our concern at the moment is the health and safety of our players and staff, that of the community and the nation, and how best we can, as a club, help other actors involved in combating the spread of this pandemic,” he said.
Bosso are bankrolled by mobile network operator NetOne through its One Fusion brand.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Moyo’s counterpart at DeMbare, Tinashe Farawo, whose club enjoys a five-year sponsorship deal from Rudland and George, a subsidiary of Gold Leaf Tobacco.
Mr Tinashe Farawo
“Coronavirus is affecting everyone; we are not spared, but when it comes to sponsorship we are still okay. We continue nevertheless to engage our sponsors on the way forward,” said Farawo.
Meanwhile, Highlanders are today expected to launch a crowd funding initiative to raise funds for Ekusileni Medical Centre that has been identified as one of the Covid-19 isolation centres in Bulawayo. The Chronicle