ERSL side Grayham FC writes to ZIFA; cry foul over ‘unfair’ cancellation of fixtures

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Eastern Region Soccer League [ERSL] side Grayham FC has written to the Zimbabwe Football Association [ZIFA] crying foul over ‘unfair’ cancellation of two of their fixtures versus Mutare City and Rusitu FC.

By Bhora Afrika

Grayham’s games that were supposed to take place on 22 and 30 July 2023 were called off by the ERSL hierarchy due to “non-payment of affiliation fees”.

However, the Ruwa-based outfit claims both matches were supposed to be fulfilled despite the affiliation fees arrears.

In a letter written to ZIFA through their lawyers, J Mambara and Partners, Grayham FC argue that they informed and agreed with ERSL that they would pay the outstanding affiliation fee end of July.

“On 22 July 2023 at 21:30 hours, Mr Simba of ERSL sent a message to Mr Gray Hama the owner of the club (Grayham FC) advising him that the scheduled match between his team and Mutare City had been canceled due to non-payment of affiliation fees.

“Grayham Football Team had already advised ERSL prior to cancellation that it was going to make good its payment by month end (July).

“Despite this information being known by ERSL, the match was cancelled on the eve of Saturday to financial prejudice of Grayham FC,” the letter reads.

Moreover, the club claims that on 26 July, the club owner, Hama, paid the affiliation fees ahead of their fixture against Rusitu FC on the 29th of July.

The letter reads that: “immediately the proof of payment was forwarded to the ERSL but Mr Simba responded that the money is (was) not yet in their account and he was going to cancel the match scheduled for Sunday 30 July 2023.”

Albeit, the match was cancelled with three points and three goals awarded to Rusitu.

Grayham have described the situation as “blatant violation of the team’s natural rights to respond or be heard”.

The club also claims that the “arbitrary cancellation of football matches and docking of points is an unjust, drastic and irregular action taken by ERSL.”

The Hama-owned side also argues that “it has on authority that many football teams (within ERSL) haven’t paid in full or part of their affiliation fees are being allowed to fulfill (their weekly) fixtures.”

However, Simba from ERSL remains adamant that their decision was ‘fair’.

Simba argues the executive committee followed a resolution that was made by the clubs during an Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in May which set the 16th of July 2023 as the deadline to pay all outstanding affiliation fees.

“A deadline was set by the congress in May, during our AGM, that all clubs are supposed to pay their affiliation fees, and the deadline was the 16th of July 2023 for those who were yet to pay.

“The rules went on to say, for one to be a member of the ERSL, one must confirm through a letter, he wants to be part of the league during that season, and pay the affiliation fee in full.

“We gave clubs enough time, but it’s unfortunate only Grayham were yet to pay their affiliation until deadline day.

“Our rules are clear on failure to pay affiliation fees on time, your matches will be suspended and the points will be awarded to the next opponent.”

Grayham argues the matches must be rescheduled and pleads with ZIFA to interfere on the matter with “urgency”.

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