HARARE – The newly-established First Instances Body (Fib) says it has lowered the requirements for teams to meet Club Licensing requirements as the 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) starts today.
Only CAPS United and Ngezi Platinum Stars are the two PSL clubs which have been awarded Club Licenses after meeting the minimum requirements.
Some of the criteria which the Fib, a Zifa committee, looks at before issuing licenses are a team’s sporting infrastructure, administrative and personnel, legal and financial aspects.
This is the reason why all coaches in the PSL this season are required to possess Caf A coaching licences.
Fib also moved around the country inspecting all the venues to be used by clubs and found that all the stadia need sprucing up.
If a team fails to meet any of the minimum requirements in these five fields then they will not be granted a Club Licence and will not be eligible to compete in the top flight.
With only two clubs meeting these laid-down criteria, the domestic game found itself in a crisis ahead of the start of the 2017 season.
Yesterday, Fib, PSL clubs and representatives from the Zifa regions met in the capital to find a compromise in order for the PSL season to run smoothly.
“There was a minimum set of requirements but it looks like most of our clubs are failing to meet most of those minimum requirements,” Fib vice chairperson Willard Manyengavana said.
“So we are now meeting to set a minimum-minimum and we will be able to issue out licences.
“The idea is that we must continue playing football in Zimbabwe but our role is to make sure that we are doing that in an orderly manner which is professional.
“Of course, we should not expect that all our stadia look like Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium but should not look like those found in Division Three.”
Manyangeva defends Fib’s decision to lower the standards citing Zimbabwe’s declining economy which has seen most clubs fail to pay players and service providers on time.
“We need to understand our environment and there is no need to make life difficult for our teams.
“The minimum-minimum here is coming in because we are operating in a very difficult economic environment and we must not act as if everything is normal.
“We must understand that we are operating in an abnormal environment and this is where the issue of the minimum-minimum comes in.”
Caf launched the Club Licensing programme in 2010 and expected all national associations to implement their own time frames.
“To be very honest, we did not take this issue of Club Licensing seriously when it started. If we had taken it seriously back then, we could be competing with the Emirates Stadium in terms of stadia.
“We are just starting and the Fib was put in place less than a month ago so for a body that has just come in place to expect them to set very high standards; it would be very unfair on the clubs.
“This is why we have to come up with a minimum-minimum so that there is a time-frame for our clubs to meet these requirements.
“For example, we have our Yadah FC here, who have just been promoted from Division One, maybe they are just hearing about Club Licensing for the first time.
“As we begin this journey, we should not take huge steps or else we might tumble. We will go step by step and make sure we get where we want to reach.”