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Dynamos' Rufaro lease hits the post

by Staff reporter
09 Mar 2022 at 06:54hrs | Views
DYNAMOS could lose their bid to secure Rufaro Stadium after it emerged yesterday the Harare City Council are against the idea of leasing any of their sporting facilities to individual clubs.

The Glamour Boys, backed by the financial muscle from their principal sponsors Sakunda Holdings, applied to get the iconic facility on a long-term basis.

But, just when it seemed they were getting closer to seal the historic deal, it emerged yesterday the council is not ready to let out the control of any of their stadiums to one team.

Speaking during the informative television programme, "The Couch", on Zimbabwe Television Network, Harare City Council spokesperson, Michael Chideme, said the municipality was inviting corporates to partner them in upgrading city stadiums in exchange for naming rights rather than leasing individual teams the facilities.

"It's very clear here, as a council, we are saying we have only three football stadiums, that is Rufaro, Gwanzura and Dzivarasekwa. If we can lease these stadiums to only three clubs for example, where will the other teams play?

"These clubs are coming through some companies and we are saying those companies should come directly to us (for partnerships)," said Chideme.

Dynamos have been angling to get Rufaro on a long-term lease and the Harare City Council have always said they were looking into it, given Sakunda Holdings were being mentioned in the proposed deal as the club's sponsors.

And Chideme made it clear corporates were welcome to discuss business with the council on condition that they approached the municipality in their individual capacities.

"Those companies should come and discuss with us so that if they are to spruce up the stadiums, they will do so to the benefit of everyone because look, it is not only the supporters of one team who buy from a certain company. So we are saying those partnerships should benefit everyone in a way.

"It will be in the best interest of these companies to benefit the whole community. Besides, these stadiums are what we also use, as council, as collateral when we want to borrow money from different organisations. If we give away our collateral, it means we are shooting ourselves in the foot, so to say.

"Our conditions remain the same, if a certain club comes and secures the lease for a stadium, that stadium should also remain open for use by all the other clubs and the community.

"If someone comes and says we have so much to spruce up the stadium and get the naming rights, well fair and fine, but we cannot afford to lose our collateral.

"We borrow based on what we have. It is also not in the best interest of the residents to have a non-functional Rufaro, a non-functional Gwanzura and Dzivarasekwa . . . "

"The community needs to use that but the same community will not be happy with us if we give the facility to one club. It means those clubs will be determining who will use the facilities and who doesn't. In a way, they will be controlling those facilities.

"Yet some of these clubs have had their land, they can use those pieces of land to build their own stadiums and thereby adding to the stadium stocks in the city (or country).

"We work on a budget system whereby money is allocated towards the sprucing up of stadiums. Sometimes the money is not enough to do all the work which is why we are saying companies are welcome to come on board, partner the city and we are ready to discuss the issue of naming rights so that those corporates can also get full value for their investment for the agreed duration.

"But the condition remains the same, the stadium will be for use by all and remains the property of the city."

Dynamos chairman, Isaiah Mupfurutsa, said the Harare City Council haven't communicated with the club over the proposed lease.

All the three stadiums in Harare - Rufaro, Gwanzura and Dzivarasekwa - are in a dilapidated and unserviceable state.

Presidential Envoy and Ambassador-at-Large to the Americas and Europe, Uebert Angel, recently made a commitment to refurbish Gwanzura after he went into a partnership with the Harare City Council and he initially poured in US$50 000 for the project.

Source - The Herald