Crunch talks as PSL nears return

HENRY MHARA

THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) met with government officials, potential sponsors, as well as broadcaster ZBC yesterday, as preparations for the return of top-flight football season pencilled to kick off next month gather momentum.

Details of the meeting which was held in the capital yesterday could not be obtained. However, sources said representatives from the PSL, Delta Beverages, Ministry of Information and Zbc attended, to draw up logistics for the safe resumption of football.

PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare confirmed the meeting, but refused to give details.

“We have been engaging various stakeholders on football resumption. However, I’m not in a position to share the details at this point.”

Sources told this publication that Delta Beverages has agreed to renew sponsorship of the local league, which will be played in a cup tournament format this season.

Delta’s deal with the league expired last year and were reportedly reluctant to renew. They were said to be concerned about mileage, considering that matches will be played in empty stadiums due to Covid-19.

PSL, it appears, has convinced them that they stand to benefit in broadcast deals, since they have reportedly struck a deal with Zbc to broadcast some of the matches.

Domestic elite league has not had a broadcasting deal since the collapse of their partnership with SuperSport in 2017.

Local football is expected to resume next month after a year hiatus caused by Covid-19 restrictions.

Government has allowed football to return in phases, beginning with the men’s and women’s top-flight leagues.

Clubs have been told to adhere to WHO and national Covid-19 protocols, which entail regular testing of players and team officials.

Most teams, including Caps United, Harare City, Ngezi Platinum Stars, FC Platinum and Manica Diamonds have already been given the greenlight to resume training sessions as they have completed the testing protocols.

Harare giants Dynamos yesterday announced that they will conduct testing and vaccinations for their players this morning. Vaccination will be voluntary, the club stressed.

PSL want the football action to return in the first week of next month after their proposal was approved by Zifa a fortnight ago.

There are, however, concerns over the standards of football stadiums around the country, with many of them having deteriorated to undesirable levels.