CAPS United made a loss of nearly USD$20 000 when they hosted Lioli FC in a CAF Champions League match played at the National Sports Stadium in Harare in February, it has been revealed.

Responding to questions from members of the media at a press conference in the Capital in the wake of gate fee hiking for the first round second leg match gainst TP Mazembe in Harare on Sunday, CAPS United CEO, Cuthbert Chitima, said the move was influenced by huge costs incurred in hosting champions league matches.

CAPS United will charge USD$5 up from USD$3 for rest of the ground, while charging USD$20 up from USD$10 for VIP tickets with VVIP tickets pegged at USD$50 up from USD$20. There has been an outcry from United fans, who have now called for a reduction of the gate charges to the usual figures.

“The reason why we increased though is that if you look at the game that we played against Lioli, I will be honest with you, it was a loss game [coming] close to USD$20 000, and for that I can give you the figures and you can see for yourselves. That’s exactly what happened with that particular game.

“The cost of hosting these teams is enormous; it’s not anything that is small. And if you look at when we played against Lioli, our referees were coming from Botswana [and] it was [even] cheaper for us. Now referees are coming from Seychelles, and [the costs] of just accommodating the referees, the airfares and the allowances, it’s coming close to USD$20 000,” Chitima told journalists.

Tickets for the first leg match played at the TP Mazembe Stadium in Lubumbashi on Sunday were going for FR3000 (around USD$2.30) for rest of the ground.

However, Chitima said that the budget for the return leg against TP Mazembe at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday was skyrocketing being just under USD$40 000.

“I’ve got the budget here with me (for the TP Mazembe game) and it’s going up to USD$37 000 just to host this match. So all we are asking our fans is that, yes, we know the fees have increased but this is the time that we want them to support the team by just paying the USD$5. We are actually appealing to every Zimbabwean soccer loving fan; it’s not just CAPS United fans, [but] everybody else. This is a national cause and we are actually appealing to them to come and support the team.

“In terms of statutory requirement, 38% of the gross [takings] is going towards these statutory requirements; 15% is going for ground hire, we have got ZIFA (Zimbabwe Football Association) [taking] 10%, SRC (Sports and Recreation Commission) [taking] 6%, FIFA is taking 2% and CAF (Confederation of African Football) is taking 5% of the gross amount. So at the end of the day, the team will remain with nothing.

“I think it’s not true that if we charge more, less people will come. I think if you look at our previous games that we have been playing, for example [against] Dynamos, you would charge USD$5 and people would still come.

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