The Botswana Football Association (BFA) and its league structure, the Botswana Premier League (BPL) are on a collision course over the reinstatement of suspended BPL CEO Bennett Mamelodi. Following the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC)’s letter ordering BPL to reinstate Mamelodi, the BPL board has now resolved to stick out its index finger.
In their letter, the BFA NEC, who made it clear that they will not support the BPL Board’s in their court battle with Mamelodi, directed that the BPL CEO be reinstated. “Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC) resolved not to support the Botswana Premier League in its case against its Chief Executive Officer Mr Bennett Mamelodi. In taking this position, the NEC agreed among other that all charges against the CEO be withdrawn and be recalled back to work immediately,” read the letter.
The letter further read that “the BPL is therefore, through this letter, directed to take note of the foregoing and do the needful by immediately recalling the CEO and his PA back to work.”
The BFA NEC directive drew the ire of the BPL Board, who then convened an impromptu meeting this past Thursday. During the said meeting, the BPL Board, who have now elected the then interim Board Chairman Rapula Okaile on a permanent basis, took a resolution to reject the BFA orders and wrote a letter to the BFA NEC to state as such.
In their letter, the BPL Board made it clear that they will not reinstate Mamelodi. “The issue regarding reinstatement of Mamelodi back to work is currently before courts and subject of litigation. In that regard, Botswana Football Association has got no powers to usurp the power of the court and order a reinstatement of Mamelodi back to work when the courts are still to pronounce on the matter,” read the letter.
“In fact the direction by Botswana Football Association to direct the premier league to reinstate Mamelodi when there is a pending matter before court on the same subject undermines the authority of the court and the Premier League will not want to be seen to be parties to acts that seek to defeat the ends of justice by undermining court process,” the BPL Board said.
“Botswana Premier League shall therefore not accede to your demand/direction to reinstate Mamelodi, which demands in any event the Premier League views as unlawful and possibly contemptuous of court,” noted the letter.
Still at the said emergency meeting, the BPL board has resolved to make an application to be joined in as a respondent and defend legal proceedings under case number MAHGB-000226-16 instituted by Mamelodi against BFA for an order declaring as null and void the decision by the BPL to suspend Mamelodi.
“We want to get in the shoes of the BFA as an interested party in this case. We believe we have reasons to prove beyond reasonable doubt that all has not been well at the Secretariat and we want to be offered the opportunity to prove our case if the BFA is not interested,” BPL Board Chairman Okaile said when reached for comment.
At the time of going to press, BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kitso Kemoeng, reserved his comments as he said he was yet to see the letter. “I was not in office for the day arrived late, so it will only be proper to comment next week after attending to the said letter,” the BFA CEO explained.
For his part, Mamelodi’s legal representative, Dutch Leburu, said he is yet to get a word from both the BFA and the BPL. “I haven’t heard anything from the BFA but I have written them a letter asking them to give me the resolutions of the two NEC meetings,” he said.
He said his understanding is that the BFA has failed to meet the deadline of submitting new papers. “They only have two options they can seek condonation and file the papers as the court has requested provided they have the resolution to file papers,” he said. Leburu said if there is nothing we will ask the court to grant them an order in terms of what they have asked for. “We have asked for permanent stay of disciplinary proceedings and immediate reinstatement of my client,” Leburu.