Kaizer Chiefs will seemingly be able to recoup some of the costs they incurred ahead of their called-off Caf Champions League match against Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.
Chiefs were to face Wydad on Saturday and incurred costs amounting to around R1m as they prepared for the trip to North Africa. But the game was eventually called off after the Moroccans decided to reject Chiefs’ applications for visas a day after the date of departure‚ citing fears over Covid-19 as the reason for the decision.
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) said on Sunday their organising committee for Inter-club Competitions has recommended that the game must be replayed in a neutral country and the venue‚ date and kickoff time will be confirmed on Monday.
The Moroccans gave Chiefs the runaround for days before finally pulling the plug on the game. Chiefs bemoaned the costs they incurred for a game that was called off at the 11th hour and Caf have opened the door to the possibility of the Naturena club recouping some of the expenditure.
“Kaizer Chiefs can submit to Caf the justification of the financial losses they have incurred and we would present it to the concerned committee for their decision on who should bear the cost‚” Caf said on Sunday.
An insider told TimesLIVE that Chiefs usually spend between R1.5m and R2m per trip when they travel on the continent to honour Champions League assignments but with regard to the Morocco outing‚ they had spent around R1m when their visas were rejected.
They were yet to spend money on player allowances and other travel-related costs‚ which contributed to the lower figure.
But the club had already spent on flights for 40 people‚ accommodation for three days‚ on a SA Football Association delegation that was to travel with the team‚ car rentals in Casablanca and visa applications for the whole travelling contingent.
The club had also paid for Covid-19 tests at a cost of R850 per person. The Covid-19 test costs included players that were not part of the travelling party‚ and the support staff at Naturena.
Chiefs make a point of testing everybody‚ including those who are not travelling‚ to ensure the safety of everybody stationed at the club’s Naturena headquarters.
Their accountants will be very busy in the coming days as some of the costs will have to take into account likely refunds and cancellation fees before the final document is submitted to Caf.
Safa wrote to Caf a few days ago and wanted to know why communication was so poor in the lead-up to the game. The insider said e-mails were not answered‚ messages were ignored and there was no communication or clarity from the Moroccans for days as Chiefs hit numerous brick walls as they desperately tried to secure visas.
“Reference to your letter sent to CAF concerning Match No. 81 WAC (MOR) vs. Kaizer Chiefs FC (RSA)‚ we would like to first of all apologise for the [inconvenience] the situation has caused to Kaizer Chiefs‚” Caf said.
“As a result of the stricter travel restrictions imposed on SA by some countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic‚ we have experienced more difficulties to organise matches in SA.
“Bloemfontein Celtic FC were confronted with such complications during their trip to Nigeria to face Rivers United FC in the CAF Confederation Cup.
“Similarly‚ Kaizer Chiefs FC faced complication in obtaining the entry visas to Morocco to play their Caf Champions League match vs Wydad AC‚ which was scheduled to be played on February 13 in Casablanca.
“As stated in a communication received from the Moroccan federation on February 10‚ the state authorities did not permit the match to be played in the Moroccan territory due the extra medical health measure taken against travellers from SA.”
Chiefs’ next outing will be against AmaZulu in a domestic league match at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.