Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE country’s traditional soccer giants Highlanders and Dynamos lead the cast of participants headed for the inaugural Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League International Football Symposium, which kicks off today at Victoria Falls.
The symposium, which got a massive vote of confidence from the world soccer governing body, Fifa, who are sending their safety and security manager Lee Davidson ends on Saturday, with extensive topics meant to uplift sport in Zimbabwe set to be discussed.
Kudzai Bare, PSL spokesperson said: “We’re good to go and foreign delegates are expected to arrive tomorrow (today). Registration of all the delegates will be done tomorrow, with the programme set to get into full swing on Friday. On Saturday the seminar will run for a half-day.
“As a league we’re excited because this is a first for Zimbabwe and our clubs will certainly benefit. We have also invited regional leagues, other sporting codes, sports administrators, sponsors, that is past, current and future partners so that they tap into the knowledge of the panelists coming.”
Bulawayo soccer giants Highlanders will be represented by chairman Kenneth Mhlophe, Donald Ndebele (treasurer) and chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube.
Davidson headlines the cast that has chief legal officer of the Swiss Football League, Marc Juillerat, Michael Murphy who is the general legal counsel for the South African Premier Soccer League, World Leagues Forum (WLF) secretary-general Jerome Perlemuter, the La Liga Global Network Delegate in South Africa, Enrique Suay and Cameron Calder, marketing director at Hype Sport.
Davidson, a qualified stadium safety and security manager and licensed security officer, will make a presentation on managing safety and security and sporting events at the conference that is open to football clubs, players, fans, financial institutions, media, sponsors and other stakeholders.
Suay will present on “Internationalisation of sports sponsorship: how can football and its partners realise the full commercial potential? A case study of LaLiga.”
Suay has worked in strategic and marketing positions in different sectors including mass consumption products, digital e-commerce platforms and advertising agencies across Europe.
Perlemuter will deliver a piece on sport corporate governance and development, while Murphy will present on sports disputes resolution procedures.
Before joining the WLF, Perlemuter served as the general counsel of the French Professional football league where he was also in charge of Public and International Affairs.
He is also a judge of the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber and a member of the Ethics Committee of the French Football Federation.
Murphy, a lawyer and director with over 30 years experience having specialised in all aspects of employment law with a particular interest in constitutional matters, sport and entertainment.
Calder will present on driving fan management through digital technology platforms.
Local administrators told our Harare Bureau that they are excited at the prospects of opening new business avenues that could help them sustain their clubs and bring glory back to the domestic top-flight.
“Football is no longer just for delivering entertainment. ln Africa, we are moving into the next level of football, which is an opportunity to deliver economic value.
“This symposium is an opportunity to allow clubs in Zimbabwe to see the value of football outside the actual playing field,” said Chido Chizondo, spokesperson for champions FC Platinum, one of the best-run sides in the local Premiership.
Dynamos chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze believes the symposium presents an opportunity for football clubs, sponsors, partners and media to find each other.
“It being the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, all serious football stakeholders must be heading to Victoria Falls.
“Our football needs a common business agenda and this could be the beginning of such a dispensation. The world over, seminars of this nature help football administrators appreciate the value of football.
“Similarly, the corporate world also gets to appreciate the power of football, how football can impact on their business models and why it is important to partner football on a journey where everyone can be a winner.
“As Dynamos, we will seize the opportunity with two hands. As a big brand in the country, we cannot miss the opportunity to be at such a networking forum.
“The league deserves plaudits for hosting such a high profile symposium,” said Mashingaidze. — @ZililoR