BTC, BFA sideline Premier League?

17 Jun 2019

BY BOTLHALE KOOTHUPILE

After months of futile attempts to uncover the truth, the Botswana Premier League (BPL) has acknowledged being faced with problems with the league sponsors - the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).

Sometime in March early this year or thereof, the BTC was alleged to have written a letter to the Botswana Premier League (BPL) expressing concerns over the latter’s breach of contract.

While the company, which is the league’s main sponsor, opted to remain tight lipped on the matter back then, it was however reported that ‘it had misgivings on how the league was run.’

Among other issues, the BTC was said to have been irked by the number of games shown live on national television, which are way short of what was agreed.

Fielding questions from the media on Friday, BPL vice Chairman Solomon Mantswe said while they are aware BTC is having grievances over alleged breach of contract by the BPL, the league cannot discuss the matter.

“The matter is currently being discussed by the BTC and the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and once they are done, we will talk about it,” the BPL vice chairman explained.

He said as the BPL is not an independent structure which can sign its own contracts, all matters relating to contractual matters relating to the BPL are being dealt with by the BFA.

The matter of the BPL’s exclusion from the talks relating to the BTC Premiership sponsorship are said to have not gone well with the BPL who have since hastened their clamour for autonomy.

While Mantswe said his hands are tied, sources say the BPL is not happy with how BTC has sidelined them, opting to rather ‘deal only with the BFA’ on matters affecting the league.

The matter is said to have been on the agenda this past Friday as the BPL had some misgivings about its relationship with BTC, which are said not to be cordial.

It is said while BPL feels it has maintained cordial and open relationship with their some of its other sponsors, ‘the same cannot be said about their relationship with BTC.’

“The BPL is aggrieved that BTC has isolated them in key decisions and have rather preferred to work directly with the BFA,” the source said.

The league is said not to be happy that ‘it learned through the BFA that the league sponsor is not happy with some issues’ and believed ‘the BPL had breached certain contractual obligations.’

Speaking on the matter, Mantswe said as the BFA are the signatories to the BTC league contract and the BPL just implementers, the league will only wait for communication from the mother body.

While the BPL vice chairman opted not to comment on the allegations making rounds that BTC seeks to reduce its sponsorship or even call it off completely, there is still uncertainty over whether the league can keep BTC as its main sponsor.

Still with BTC, sources say the league was made aware that the company looks set to terminate its sponsorship of the Charity Cup.

Sources say while this is also being discussed between BTC and BFA, the sponsor’s decision not to continue with the charity cup comes after ‘both BTC and BPL made losses during the said competition.’

Meanwhile, with the future of BTC sponsorships yet to be determined, it has since been revealed that should the telecommunication giants opt to terminate, the league will swiftly move to replace it.

Sources have revealed that the league is in advanced talks with one of the local commercial banks (name known to this publication) to come on board as one of the league sponsors.

While retaining BTC sponsorship is top priority to the league, Sunday Standard has it in good authority that the bank will be one of the league’s sponsors when the league season starts in August 17 this year.