Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
PREMIERSHIP newboys have not been training this week amid reports the club leadership were in the process of disbanding the franchise in protest over a huge fine imposed on them by the league’s leadership.
The Shurugwi club were hit with a $4 000 fine by the PSL for the disturbances that rocked their league match against CAPS United at Ascot.
Club president Nicholas Gora immediately raised the red flag by saying the fine by the PSL was beyond their means and he would consider pulling his club out of the league.
Gora, who has sacrificed a lot to keep the club going, said it was unfair that the PSL leaders appeared insensitive to the plight of many clubs, which are funded by individuals, and the challenges they were facing just to stay in the league.
Now, the club have decided to abandon their training programmes while the leaders finalise their decision to pull out of the league. The team have not been training since returning from their league match against Herentals in the capital last weekend.
Their scheduled match against Triangle on Saturday now hangs in the balance.
They also snubbed the PSL Disciplinary Committee hearing where they had been summoned to answer charges of violence and were handed a $4 000 fine in absentia.
According to the judgment released by the league yesterday, Nichrut pleaded guilty to the charges through correspondence.
“The Accused did not attend the hearing but communicated through its letter dated 14 May 2018 that it admitted the charges. It is accordingly found guilty as charged. “The Accused indicated that it sincerely regretted and apologised for the violent conduct of its supporters. It prayed that it be treated with leniency in view of the fact that it is its first time to ‘grace’ the Premiership.
“It put its fans’ conduct down to lack of knowledge and experience and asked for a ‘rehabilitation penalty’ as a first offender.
“The Committee took into account all the factors highlighted by the Accused. However, given the extent of the violence, which left many people injured and a lot of property damaged and which even police tear smoke failed to quell, a deterrent penalty is called for.
“Moreover, the violence was unprovoked and senseless as it appears to have arisen simply because the Accused’s fans are or were sour losers angered by losing a match they thought they should have won,’’ read part of the judgment.
On Monday the club threatened to pull out from the elite division citing the severity of the punishment meted on them by the league authorities.
Club chief executive, Admire Hapazari, confirmed that the club were not conducting their usual training sessions as they finalise the process related to their pull-out from the league.
“The club president (Nicholas Gara) made it very clear that we do not have the capacity to pay the fine they say we should pay,’’ said Hapazari.
“Yes, it is true that we are not training because we are considering pulling out of the league, a final decision has not been made but, if nothing changes to the situation, I think you can count us out.
“The club have so many expenses which include salaries, allowances and travelling expenses to fulfil league matches and we do not have the capacity to pay the fine they say we should pay by the end of July.’’
Several clubs have over the years complained about the heavy fines imposed by the league which are not consistent with the earnings the teams generate from playing in the top-flight league.
Giants CAPS United complained bitterly two years ago when a fifth of their earnings from the $100 000 prize money they were supposed to receive from the league for being champions went towards settling a number of fines.
Nichrut are the second PSL club to threaten to pull out of the league in recent days. Last Friday, Prophet Walter Magaya, who has been sponsoring Yadah Stars for the past two years, dropped a bombshell when he told this newspaper that he was switching off his funding for the club.
Magaya was unhappy that the PSL leaders refused to postpone his club’s match against Bulawayo City even when three of his key players had been lost to national duty. The crisis was sparked when Yadah Stars captain Jimmy Dzingai was drafted into the Warriors side as a last-minute replacement for Costa Nhamoinesu in the Warriors squad for the COSAFA Cup.
Magaya argued that since already had Leeroy Mavunga in the national team, and defender Byron Madzokere who was injured while in camp with the Warriors, Dzingai’s call meant that three of their key players had lost three players to the national cause.
“I quit . . . be blessed,” the prophet told The Saturday Herald.
“Ndaneta, this PSL inorwadza, I am telling you. They make money out of us every season and when you ask them to be considerate to your plight they make some funny decisions which impact negatively on the development of clubs and football.’’
Yadah Stars’ trip to Bulawayo last Saturday ended up being financed by some fans although their capacity to continue bankrolling the club remains questionable.