Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) will soon introduce point of sale (POS) machines and other cashless payment methods as part of a raft of measures being adopted to counter falling match attendances.
As the cash crisis continues to bite and with some financial institutions giving clients as little as $50 in cash withdrawals, the PSL has felt the bite, with going to stadiums going down the priorities ladder.
According to statistics released by the PSL in Week 4 of the 2017 season, only 13 758 fans paid to watch the nine league games across the country on match day. About half of that figure (5 029) was at Barbourfields Stadium watching Highlanders clashing with ZPC Kariba.
The second highest figure was at the National Sports Stadium where 2 847 fans watched Caps United and Tsholotsho, while 2 180 paid their way into the Colliery Stadium for the Hwange and Dynamos encounter. The Black Rhinos and Bantu Rovers’ encounter at the National Sports Stadium only attracted 43 paying fans.
“We are working on POS machines and other cashless methods of payments, which we hope to introduce during the course of the season. Some of the factors behind the dwindling figures are purely beyond our control as the league,” said PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele.
He said the board of governors together with the finance committee have deliberated on ways and ideas of improving attendance figures.
“The clubs are required to employ personnel to work in the respective secretariat on a day-to-day basis. The personnel are expected to do marketing and activations, communications, fan development and security arrangements. The league will work hand-in-hand with the clubs,” said Ndebele.
The PSL’s ideas are in line with the Fifa club licensing requirements, which most clubs are still far from implementing despite efforts by Zifa and the PSL to enforce it.
Hopes are also high that the end of the appealing English Premier League season will see some fans turning their attention to the local game.
A total of 441 608 fans paid to watch the league’s matches last season, which was, however, a decline of 6.1 percent from the 2015 attendance figures.
Introduction of computicketing whereby fans can purchase match tickets from selected outlets might also be an idea the league’s management could consider, while clubs need to improve their management of turnstiles.