Harare – Zimbabwe football rebounds a year after the sport was frozen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, for now, there will be neither relegation nor promotion as the league format has been rejigged.
Clubs will instead participate in in a clustered tournament determined by geographical location to restrict inter-provincial travel.
The 18 premier league clubs will be divided into four groups as the tourney starts in May.
All the clubs started training this week, having undergone COVID-19 tests in line with World Health Organisation protocols.
Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League CEO Kennedy Ndebele said: “We have decided to start with a clustered tournament without relegation of any teams. There will also be no promotion of any teams from the lower division.
“Look, we have gone for over one year without playing competitive football. A lot has happened along the way and it’s only prudent for us to manage the fitness levels of the players by not putting them under intense marathon.
“For now we have decided to pursue a tournament based competition in order to try and manage the players’ fitness levels.
“That means we won’t be relegating any teams and the same goes with promotion.”
The country has four distinct first division leagues with table toppers from each section getting the ticket to the Premiership.
Four bottom placed teams in the top league get ready relegated at the end of each season.
The decision by the football chiefs has left those in the lower divisions in a fix and they will have to introduce their own tournament formats.
Teams in the lower rungs are also preparing to return to training although it is not yet clear which competition formats they will be taking given none of them will be joining rungs above them, at least for now.