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Sources close to Township Rollers say football politics may have played a role in the team’s failure to comply with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) broadcast requirements.
Rollers, along with Botswana Football Association (BFA) are said to have deliberately snubbed asking for help from former Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi, who could have helped it complete its Form 5 compliance forms it needed to complete for broadcast of the games.
‘Popa’ lost at least 1 million pula from their Champions’ League prize monies as CAF deducted from their prize monies following the non compliance of national broadcaster Botswana Television (Btv) to meet its strict broadcast requirements.
BTV along with the Botswana Football Association (BFA) had signed CAF’s Form 5 broadcast compliance form on behalf of Rollers. The forms are said to have been completed and signed by Btv and BFA on the 28th of March early this year.
In filling the forms, the national broadcaster assured CAF that it meets their broadcast requirements.
Despite filing that it was compliant and met CAF broadcasting standards, Btv is said to have been found wanting in some areas by the (CAF) inspectors and this prompted CAF to intervene, resulting with hefty fines for Rollers.
‘Popa’ was then charged US$40 000 (+/-P430 000) for the first home game against Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), as CAF took control to ensure the game was broadcast according to their set standards.
Rollers however escaped being charged the same amount for their second home game against Al Ahly as CAF roped in Supersport to work hand in hand with Btv and to provide expertise. The intervention however came with a reduced charge of approximately US$27 500 (+/-P295 000).
“Despite CAF roping in expertise from Supersport, the second game also had a few technical glitches and this resulted with CAF hitting ‘Popa’ with another hefty US$40 000 (+/-P430 000) charge for its last home group game against Esperance this past Tuesday,” said a source.
“The funny part is that all along, we had Mamelodi here in Botswana and he could have helped us avoid all these charges. Instead we opted not to use his expertise and we lost a lot of monies as a result,” the source opined.
According to the source, while Rollers and the BFA shunned Mamelodi, the latter was called to help by Ugandan side KCCA and the team paid only a minimal US$45 000 (+/-P484 000) to Supersport for the channel to broadcast all its three home games.
“Considering how close we are to South Africa, I believe Rollers could have paid the same or less amount to Supersport and saved itself more money in the process. Instead, it was KCCA who saved using Botswana expertise and we suffered because we failed to use one of our own,” said the source.
Reached for comment, BFA Public Relations Officer (PRO) Tumo Mpatane confirmed that the team was indeed charged for their non fulfilment of all CAF broadcast requirements.
While he refused to divulge the amount charged to Rollers for the last game, Mpatane said the monies charged were for CAF to solicit expertise for Btv to meet CAF’s broadcast requirements.
Meanwhile, Rollers is said to have written a letter to CAF appealing for some leniency and reduction of charges.
Attempts to get information from Rollers proved futile as financier Jagdish Shah was out of the country.