Friday, December 3, 2021

A football season like no other

The 2021/2022 season will be a roller coaster ride for Premier League clubs.

They should brace themselves to dig deeper into their financial coffers in order to compete in the coming season.

For teams returning to play under the ongoing pandemic, they will have to abide by strict Covid-19 protocols, which will come with a huge burden of demands.

Botswana National Sport Commission chief executive officer, Tuelo Serufho says the commission will be strict to make sure clubs abide by the set Covid-19 protocols. “Yes, we’ll be monitoring strictly. The stadia will adhere to health standards as advised by authorities,” Serufho says.

With the commission not charging clubs rental fees for usage of facilities, he says the expenses for ensuring stadia adheres to protocols will be shouldered by clubs.

Serufho says the premier league has contract with BNSC to use their stadia facilities and they will be using them for free. 

“For a period where there will be no spectators, the BNSC is not charging use of facilities but only cleaning and water expenses and where applicable; electricity,” Serufho says when explaining the agreement.

While the BNSC has opened its facilities for teams to use freely, some of the teams are yet to start preseason training as they are yet to meet the demands of covid protocols. 

Despite this, Botswana Football Association (BFA) general secretary Goabaone Taylor is optimistic that the season will go ahead as planned.

“We are optimistic that the season will go ahead as planned. The BFL is expected to start on 11 September 2021. We haven’t received any queries from BFL teams since starting training and this gives us hope that we will go ahead as planned,” she says. 

The BFA CEO further says her office has not received any suggestions to have the start of the season moved further to towards the end of the year. Taylor however says for the season to start as planned, teams and everyone involved must work towards ensuring a safe return to play.

Taylor’s optimism that the league will resume as planned is also shared by the Botswana Football League (BFL) CEO Solomon Ramochotlhwane.

The BFL CEO also says ‘his office has also not received request from any team or teams to move the start of the season towards the end of the year.’ 

“Teams are expected to go for rapid testing every fortnight not every match like people suggest,” explained BFL CEO.

He says the BFL teams have approached his office with challenges they face but the league could not assist them because there are no sponsors.

According to return to play guidelines all Premier league clubs and first division clubs must appoint a doctor as a lead person guiding their medical compliance team.

A screening point will be set up. The compliance officer will register and do temperature checks. Teams are expected to ensure there are no spectators at the training ground.  Matches are to be held strictly on closed grounds with no supporters.

The screening point always has to have disinfectant or water with soap. All those permitted to access the club ground must as a mandatory wash hands or disinfect.

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