Home » General » Matangaidze Calls for Rules of Engagement

FORMER Premier Soccer League chairman and House of Assembly member Tapiwa Matangaidze has challenged ZIFA and other sporting associations to restructure and conform to the tenets of good corporate governance if they want the State to financially assist them. Matangaidze told the August House that while he appreciated the need for Government to assist ZIFA, the soccer mother body’s under-fire leadership cannot literally have their cake and eat it by seeking State help when it suits them and then claiming Government interference when questions are asked about their operations.

The Shurugwi South Member of Parliament suggested that the Government needed to come up with “rules of engagement” that clearly distinguish what is deemed interference and what is defined as assistance which he felt would improve the way the two bodies interact.

Matangaidze said he noted with concern that while bankrupt ZIFA always rushed to Government for financial assistance, they were also guilty of seeking FIFA protection from the same Government when tough questions are asked about their management shortcomings.

The legislator, who wants ZIFA declared insolvent, was contributing to debate on the report presented by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture on the state of football and sport in Zimbabwe.

He said the football body saddled with mounting debts, largely from litigation from their former employees, needed to learn to live within their means by introducing proper corporate governance and implementing austerity measures.

Matangaidze said he also noted with concern that such association’s like Zimbabwe Cricket and the Zimbabwe Rugby Union, also sought protection from the international bodies they are affiliated to whenever they were confronted by the government.

The House of Assembly member who also once ran a Premiership side — the now defunct Eiffel Wildcats — reckoned that sport in the country was in a lifeless state that needed a g government injection to revive it.

“Mr Speaker Sir, it is common cause that sport at national level is in comatose. The performance and results are in a free-fall. If you look at our football, our cricket and rugby, the performance has never been this low.

“The financial position of the national associations is in no better state. Most national associations, cricket, or ZIFA are technically insolvent.

“The need for us to salvage whatever little of sport is left cannot be over-emphasised. Day in day out, there are reports of creditors attaching ZIFA property, attaching national property.

“If you look at the way the national associations are currently structured, I will argue that it is unsustainable.

“ZIFA has an annual (expenditure) of US$1,5 million, this against receipts of US$250 000 coming from FIFA on an annual basis, clearly shows that their debt can only increase year in, year after.

“You would find that these national associations have to be re-structured in a way that they eat what they kill,” Matangaidze said.

Matangaidze said while there was nothing amiss about national associations seeking government assistance but the same institutions needed to acknowledge the need for the State machinery to conduct its own checks and balances.

“The call for Government’s assistance is noble, but that should only come in after there is an interface between Government and the national associations.

“There has to be some rules of engagement between Government and the national associations. People have to draw a line between when it is Government interference and when it is not Government interference but Government support.

“You find that when the national associations are in financial dire straits their first port of call is Government, but when Government comes in and calls for good corporate governance in handling the finances that they would have disbursed, you will find that the national associations are calling that Government interference. “Therefore, those rules of engagement have to be spelt out and the national associations have to be the first ones to approach Government to establish these rules of engagement”.

Matangaidze said the Government needed to give stricter conditions for the national associations to access its support.

“My call then Mr Speaker Sir, would be for Government to dangle a carrot to these national associations.

“Government assumes the debt of these national associations on condition that the national associations restructure by themselves and show us good corporate governance.

“Therefore, Mr Speaker Sir, my call is yes, your Committee’s findings should be supported. Government should assume the debt of the national associations, mainly ZIFA, support the national teams and this should be incorporated into the national budgets.

“However, for that to happen, Government should be saying, show us good corporate governance, restructure your organisations in such a way that your budgets are in line with your receipts,” Matangaidze said.

Matangaidze’s call in Parliament also stands as a challenge to the ZIFA Assembly, often accused for being a moribund body, to wake up from their slumber and demand improved corporate governance from the people they elected into office.

Local football’s supreme policy making body, battling to for relevance in the domestic game, convenes next month for their annual meeting.

Source : The Herald