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Local top flight football clubs look set to breathe a huge sigh of relief in the upcoming 2018/19 BTC Premiership season if the alleged impending agreement between Barclays Bank of Botswana and the Botswana Premier League (BPL) is anything to go by.
According to sources, the BPL and Barclays Bank Botswana are this coming week expected to seal an agreement that will see the latter sponsor BPL teams’ match venues and BPL administrative logistics.
Once the agreement is in place, BPL clubs will be expected to take home all the proceeds from gate takings during their home matches, a departure from the past practices which saw clubs share proceeds with the BPL while also paying for venues.
Sources close to the matter allege that if the sponsorship agreement does go through, Barclays Bank will pay out a sum of P3.6 million to the BPL.
It has been revealed to Sunday Standard that in return, the bank will gain mileage of their sponsorship through parameter advertising during televised BPL matches.
According to the source, while the sponsorship money may seem trivial, every penny will be vital for survival of some clubs as they are already under severe economic pressure.
“It is common knowledge that our clubs are struggling to secure sponsors and the TV agreement is also not benefitting clubs as they never got a penny from the deal. So taking home all gate takings will massively assist clubs as some cannot only depend on grants due to demands of top flight football,’’ sources told Sunday Standard.
Sunday Standard has established that last season clubs received their grants in drips due to financial challenges faced by the BPL. It was uncovered that the P50 000 monthly grants given to clubs was part of the funds that the BPL drew on for administrative logistics to run the BPL office.
It is said the Barclays deal has come a long way as the talks once collapsed last year. While sponsors BTC agreed to assist clubs with the P50 000 monthly grant, it has emerged evident that the grants fall short in assisting clubs for administrative issues.
However, Barclays is no newcomer in the domestic football arena as it has in the past sponsored the one day pre season spectacular dubbed Kabelano Charity cup. In its last edition, the tournament featured local giants Township Rollers, Gaborone United, Extension Gunners and Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
Contacted for comment, BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang downplayed the matter and refuted the claims saying he is not aware of any negotiation with regards to the Barclays sponsorship. ‘’Those are just rumours that we are not aware of as they have not reached our office,’’ shortly said Ntshinogang.