ZIFA are concerned about high rentals clubs are subjected to by local authorities and have resolved to use Fifa Goal Projects funds to construct stadia in Bulawayo and Harare.
Cuthbert Dube the Zifa president said his association is worried with the pittance gatetakings clubs are collecting including the national association on international matches.
“Its saddening to note that football is coming out second best from the relationship with local authorities. The 20 percent we are paying is too much yet the facilities are never improved from the proceeds they get from matches. As Zifa we have spoken to some of the local authorities over the years but there has not been any changes to benefit football,” said Dube.
He said the way forward was for the clubs and Zifa to own their own stadia.
“Football must have its own facilities that it will control, that way it can generate more revenue as the facilities would have so much to offer like accommodation and conference facilities that could be used for soccer courses,” said the Zifa boss.
Dube noted that despite helping the City of Harare get a state of the art playing surface at Rufaro, the local authority still does not consider reducing its rates.
“We now have an artificial surface at Rufaro Stadium an investment of $1 million through Zifa but despite that we pay full rates to use it. So many matches are now played there because of the surface but still there is no gain to Zifa and soccer in general. Even other towns you find that soccer brings in revenue yet local authorities do not do anything to make the facilities look better,” said the Zifa chief.
He said they would start with the Harare stadium which funds permitting could have a carrying capacity of up to 15 000. He said Zifa had since sent its plans to Fifa for approval as part of the Fifa Goal Project Three.
“Its all about a legacy, we want structures that will stand the test of time and help improve our football,” said Dube.
The Zifa president said their wish was to have the Bulawayo stadium constructed as soon as they are through with the one in Harare. Other towns he said would follow later.
“These facilities will be available for use to anyone who wants to play soccer. We want maximum utilisation of the facilities so that they do not become white elephants,” said Dube.
The Zifa chief executive officer, Jonathan Mashingaidze said the stadia could go a long way in improving Zifa’s financial position.
“We have had situations where we have been locked out of some of the stadia, who can lock out our national teams when the stadium belongs to us?
“Clubs and national teams will use the facility at good rates. We have applied to Fifa for technical support under their grants for infrastructural development and we hope by the beginning of next year we could be done with the Harare stadium and be ready for Bulawayo which will have conference facilities and camping rooms for clubs and our teams,” said Mashingaidze.
Mashingaidze said some of the age-group national team matches would be played at their facilities while Warriors games could continue to use the traditional venues like Barbourfields Stadium, Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium.
Mashingaidze challenged clubs to get into partnerships with companies like banks and work towards investing in their own stadia.
“All the advertising revenue from perimeter advertising or touchline will go straight to the club coffers unlike now where teams bring crowds to stadia but get nothing,” said Mashingaidze. By sbue .