THE Premier Soccer League have blown a fortune of more than half a million dollars on a controversial scheme to keep renting offices in Harare and Bulawayo, when they could have invested the money in securing their properties for use as their homes.
Remarkably, the PSL even rejected an offer from Mbada Diamonds, when they came in as their partners in 2011 to sponsor the league’s flagship knockout tournament, with the miners floating an idea to inject funds towards the acquisition of a property for the league to use as their headquarters without having to waste money on rentals.
A proposal that a $400 000 injection from SuperSport in 2011 be used to buy a property in Harare’s Livingstone Avenue, which was then costing $280 000 and would have needed an extra $20 000 for renovations, was also rejected by the league’s leaders.
The leadership’s argument was owning their property, which they could afford as a long-term investment, would expose them to litigation from their creditors, especially the Sports Commission who were owed some gate levies and the investment would be lost to these legal processes.
However, the PSL chose to move from the City Sports Centre, where they were renting two rooms as their offices, to a house at 36 Midlothian Avenue in Harare, which they have been renting since 2009 and whose monthly rentals have torched a storm.
The house in Eastlea is owned by a farmer who initially rented it out for $700, but by five years ago had hiked the rentals to about $3 000 a month because he argued those were the prevailing market rates and the rentals, for the two PSL offices in Harare and Bulawayo, have since shot to more than $8 000 a month.
The PSL offices in Bulawayo are located in Suite 214 Century House, between 10th Avenue and Jason Moyo Avenue and are just two rooms on the same wing with the head offices of the company of the league’s chief executive, Kenny Ndebele, who runs Ken Estate Agents.
Rentals in Eastlea for a full house, according to market rates, are unlikely to be more than $1 000 a month, but it is believed that the top-flight league has been paying more than five to seven times the average rentals for the use of that property.
Given that the PSL have been using the property for years now, there had been reports that they acquired the house which they converted into their headquarters, but it has since been established that they have been renting the premises at a huge cost.
“The money which the PSL is paying towards rentals every month is massive and not consistent with the market rates,” sources told The Herald.
“When you do the simple calculations, taking into consideration the money which has been lost to the rentals, you can see that, by now, the league could have bought its own property, not one, not two, but more than that.
“The league’s headquarters in Harare has about five people who work there and just about everyone there is a manager of some sort, the only one whose job description doesn’t have manager is probably the personal assistant.”
It also emerged that Lifa Ncube, the member of the PSL emergency committee in charge of finance, event went to the extent of sending a memorandum to his colleagues expressing concerns over the amounts which the league’s leaders were handing themselves as allowances.
Ncube, who is the Chicken Inn chairman, was concerned that the huge amounts which were going into allowances could trigger an uproar from the league’s membership and fans who could argue that this was tantamount to fleecing the top-flight league.