People of integrity needed in football

HARARE - One of English football’s most famous clubs, Leeds United is in danger of losing its benefactor Massimo Cellino, a move likely to throw the club into financial quandary.While the Italian businessman was found guilty of concealing €390 000 in taxes, the Zimbabwean game is also littered with questionable football administrators and sponsors.

Other names that quickly come to mind include CAPS United owner Twine Phiri, Joel Serengedo, Regis Nyamasoka and Francis Zimunya, with Phiri having been in the news for the wrong reasons lately.

The Makepekepe boss stands to lose office furniture and vehicles after one of his companies failed to pay a debt owed to a local branding company.

What makes the situation peculiar is the fact that Phiri is also the chairperson of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and also sits on the influential Zimbabwe Football Association board.

Football in the country is in dire need of sponsorship to help alleviate the plight of players and clubs.

This makes Phiri the face of the league and him responsible for all sponsorship negotiations.

For corporate companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange to seriously consider partnering with local football, they need to first see that they are dealing with people of sound business practices.

They will not be willing to partner with clubs and the various leagues knowing that their funds will be controlled by individuals of questionable character.

Zifa and the PSL must ensure that they put in place regulations that prohibit individuals of dubious backgrounds to gain control or rise to influential positions in the local game.

As long as our football continues to attract deceitful characters, sponsors will not be willing to be associated with the game.

Of course some people might say that the league has a lot of corporate partners highlighted by the many cup competitions on offer, but more can be done.

Once Zimbabwean football is surrounded by people of integrity, a lot other potential sponsors waiting in the wings will be willing to be associated with the league.

In short, clubs must present regular updated accounts and those in the red must either be docked points or kicked out of the league completely because the game of football is slowly being thrown into dustbins by unscrupulous businessmen.

Only businesspeople with sound financial books must be allowed to own clubs.

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