Football teams’ apparent lukewarm interest in the 2020 season has prompted regional football leagues to extend registration period.
Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) has shifted the deadline for ThumbsUP League registration from March 22 to a later date while Central Region Football Association (CRFA) has moved the closing date from April 4 to April 22.
The Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) is still expecting registration fees from three teams after their April 4 deadline.
SRFA vice-general secretary Kingsley Simbeye yesterday said they decided to extend the deadline after some teams complained that they could not pay due to coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the suspension of sporting activities worldwide.
“Some teams are assisted by individuals who say they cannot afford to raise money for registration fees under the current situation.
“However, we are still registering teams and we are yet to issue a statement on when we will close the registration,’ he said.
Currently, SRFA ThumbsUp League, which was initially scheduled to kick-off on March 28, has registered only nine Premier Division teams and 14 Division One outfits. Each division is supposed to register 20 teams.
CRFA vice-general secretary Antonio Manda said each division in the Chipiku League is supposed to have 24 teams but, so far, 16 Premier Division and 10 Division One teams have registered.
Three clubs that were relegated from the 2019 TNM Super League, Masters Security, Dwangwa United and Mlatho Mponela, are yet to register.
“We were supposed to close registration on April 4 but due to challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, April 22 is now the final date for all teams interested to play in the 2020 season,” he said.
NRFA general secretary Masiya Nyasulu yesterday said they settled for 18 teams but, still, three outfits, namely, Raiply, Kawalazi and Luwinga are yet to pay registration fees.
This came after nine teams recently pulled out of the Simso League due to financial constraints.
Said Nyasaulu: “We cannot say when we will close the registration period but we are hopeful these teams will pay the fees as soon as possible,” Nyasulu said.
“The good thing is that Raiply and Kawalazi, which are institutional teams, have assured us that their financiers have already approved their checques.
“As for Luwinga, they say they have sold a number of players to Super League teams and they will pay as soon they get their cuts.
“However, it is well understood because we know the pandemic has also affected top-flight league teams.”
The coronavirus has economically affected clubs’ revenues just like other sectors.
World football governing body, Fifa plans to create a multi-million emergency relief fund in the wake of the pandemic.