BPL struggles to pay debts

17 Jun 2019

BY BOTLHALE KOOTHUPILE

Despite the fleece, the Botswana Premier League (BPL) is still in the red. The league is currently said to be back to close to P3 million in debt.

This was revealed by the league Vice Chairman Solomon Mantswe addressing the BPL Annual General Assembly (AGM) this past Friday.

Addressing the BPL AGM, Mantswe said the said debt allegedly stood at P3 141 882.45 as far back as 2017.

It has been revealed that at the end of 2018, the debt had been drastically reduced to P2 079 343.67.

However, as of the end of this past month (May), the debt had allegedly soared back to close to P3 million, and it now stands at P2 816 504.84.

This is in the face of the premier league clubs having forfeited thousands of pula to sponsor the league.

While it was an open secret that the financially struggling premier league teams forfeited 15 percent of their league prize monies, it seems they could have coughed up even more.

According to the BPL chairman, aside from the said monies, the teams also forfeited ‘two months of their monthly grants’ while those that participated in the Mascom Top 8 ‘agreed to contribute P75 000 of their expected revenue so that creditors could be paid.’

Despite allegedly agreeing to such, it has since come to the attention of the Sunday Standard that clubs were not happy with the move.

Among those who are alleged to have openly shared their unhappiness with the idea of clubs forfeiting monies to the BPL are teams such as Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Sharps Shooting Stars, Notwane Sporting Club, Gaborone United and Extension Gunners.

“The other teams, while not openly coming out against the move, have at different occasions made it known they are not happy,” a source said.

“The truth is as clubs, we are the ones paying for the running of the league while we ourselves are struggling to pay our players and for other teams, even struggling to honour fixtures,” the source said.

With the incumbent BPL Chairman Jagdish Shah having promised to help the league find sponsors and be debt free, the disgruntled chairman said by clubs agreeing to forfeit monies, they are also bailing out the league board chairman.

“When he gives us the report, he will tell us of how he has paid or managed to reduce the debt at BPL while forgetting that clubs have been left in huge debts. As clubs, we spend most of the time being chastened for not paying our players on time while forgetting that we sponsor the league,” the source revealed.

Prior to the BPL AGM this past Friday, the BPL chairmen were said have protested that the AGM be set for the June 29 to allow for Shah to be present.

However, it is said the BFA made it clear to the BPL board that the AGM must take place before the 15th of June (yesterday) whether Shah is present or not.

Going into the meeting on Friday, the board members were said to be planning to call for the meeting to be postponed as they wanted their chairman to be present to answer some of their grievances.