HARARE - Major Premiership sponsors are contemplating pulling out of football following the latest stand-off between Zifa and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) over the ouster of the latter’s chairman Twine Phiri over the weekend.
The Zifa board led by newly-elected president Philip Chiyangwa ordered the PSL to hold elections during its executive council meeting arguing that Phiri was part of the previous Zifa board whose mandate was revoked by councillors on October 3.
This is despite the fact that at a meeting between PSL clubs and Zifa last Friday, the majority of the premiership clubs backed his leadership.
Zifa however, went against the Premiership clubs and announced that Highlanders chairman Peter Dube is now the acting PSL chairperson.
The PSL chairperson is supposed to be a member of the Zifa board but Phiri was part of the executive committee that had its mandate revoked by the Zifa councillors.
Phiri was re-elected as the PSL chairperson in 2013 for a second term which ends in 2018 when he was still the CAPS United major shareholder and president
The club’s shareholding structure was, however, rearranged following Farai Jere’s acquisition of 80 percent of the club’s shares last year. Phiri remained with a 20 percent stake in the club while Jere assumed the post of club president since he is now the major shareholder.
Makepekepe agreed to allow Phiri to remain as their representative on the PSL board of governors until the end of his term as chairperson, a stance which the club reaffirmed in a letter to the league following the Zifa directive.
Last year, PSL also clarified to the Daily News that Phiri’s position on the Zifa body came through the affiliate body — the PSL — which is guided by its own constitution and not by Zifa.
And with the solution over the matter seemingly out of reach, the Daily News has established that at least two influential sponsors are considering withdrawing if the Phiri furore is not dealt with in the best interests of the local game.
“The sponsors want to maintain their relationship with the PSL, and they are not willing to go public at the moment,” a source told the Daily News.
“The current situation is not good and they don’t want their names to be associated with such chaos.
“They are saying there are rules which must be followed.”
The PSL is currently enjoying a good relationship with leading beverages manufacturer, Delta Beverages and have a broadcasting deal with SuperSport.
Phiri has been credited for playing a major role in clinching the deals with his management raising hopes for more corporate sponsors to come on board.