THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) owes the Levy Mwanawasa and the Heroes National stadia managements in excess of K1million in unpaid venue charges.
FAZ owes Levy Mwanawasa Stadium K1,060,000 which has accrued from 2013 during the Brazil 2014 World Cup and Equatorial Guinea 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers while an undisclosed amount is owed to Heroes National Stadium management.
The 16-member taskforce appointed by the Ministry of Sports to oversee the maintenance of the ultra-modern Levy Mwanawasa Stadium has been facing serious financial constraints to carry out their mandate smoothly.
This has resulted in the facility, built at a cost of US$65 million, to even start developing cracks in some areas.
Stadium director Mwifwa Ng’ambi said in an interview yesterday that efforts have been made to remind Football House to settle their debt but that FAZ has not been cooperative on the matter.
“If FAZ had to settle their debt, it can go a long way in maintaining this facility. Each time we host international games here, we incur a lot of damages to various property that need repairs, we have made a lot of efforts in reminding FAZ to settle the bill but they have been behaving arrogantly,” Ng’ambi said.
The commercial rate of staging an international match in a facility like Levy Mwanawasa Stadium costs K268,000 but management has been giving FAZ a discounted rate of K185,000 per game.
According to a detailed FAZ operating statement presented at the 2015 annual general meeting in Kabwe, the association’s revenue from the games in 2013 stood at K8,235,334 while that of 2014 was at K7,141,649.
Ng’ambi said the management had been seeking Government’s intervention through the Ministry of Sports to persuade FAZ to foot the bill.
“FAZ makes money from gate takings but at the end of each game, they all disappear and we are made to chase for the money. People should own up, we have followed up this matter with the Ministry of Sports who have been helping us to push them (FAZ) to settle the debt,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Vincent Mwale has asked FAZ to liquidate the debts owed to the two institutions.
Mwale said in an interview that the Government has written to Football House asking them about the pending debts owed to the stadia.
“We are aware of the debt that FAZ owes the managements at Levy Mwanawasa and National Heroes stadia and we have followed a formal channel by writing them (FAZ) on why they have failed to liquidate this debt. We are waiting for their response but I think people should pay for the services,” Mwale said.
FAZ communications manager Nkweto Tembwe said the matter was purely operational between the two institutions and that the association had a plan of settling the bills.
“We do business with Levy stadium management and we owe them money but this issue is purely operational,” Tembwe said.
(Read an extensive report of the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium cracks in today’s edition of the Copperbelt Times).