Members of the Botswana football fraternity are having the same bad dream. In it scores of premier league football players suddenly find themselves unemployed, a number of teams are saddled with contracted players they are not allowed to field and the Botswana Football Association (BFA) is facing sanctions from world governing body FIFA.
This is not pure fantasy. Something similar may actually happen should the Premier League go ahead with its decision to de-register football players from premier league teams that have exceeded the mandatory quota placed on the number of players each team can register to take part in the premier league.
So far, the Footballers Union Botswana (FUB) which represents footballers’ welfare has vowed to take up the issue with FIFA should the Premier League de-register some players.
The union says it has researched issues surrounding the controversy and is armed with facts which could result in FIFA taking serious actions against BFA.
At its recent meeting, the BFA National Executive Committee (BFA NEC) resolved to direct all teams to comply with the prescribed quota. No team has so far complied and the BFA is threatening to enforce compliance with the quota.
The BFA NEC resolution follows the dispute in which Mochudi Centre Chiefs protested that arch rivals Township Rollers had exceeded the mandatory quota.
Although Rollers was found guilty of violating the quota requirements the Premier League could not penalize them because it emerged that all premier league teams had exceeded the quota.
According to play rules and regulations teams are expected to register 25 players and additional five junior players. It was found that all the teams have registered players beyond the quota.
According to clause 2.3 “a club shall be allowed to register up to 25 players at any given time of its main team…… should a club wish to use a player registered with any of its junior teams in its main team, the club shall first register the player as a member of its main team provided that such registration observed the quota of thirty player.”
Footballer’s Union Botswana, secretary general, Kgosana Masaseng described the NEC’s decision as inappropriate saying it was likely to leave a number of players in the lurch. “We take it as a bad move and we warn the premier league of the consequences if they are to adopt the NEC resolution,” warned Masaseng. He stated that a considerable number of players will become unemployed adding that the NEC should explain to the football fraternity what should happen with the future of those players likely to be affected by its decision. Masaseng said if the BFA goes ahead with its resolution the union will be left with no option but to report the matter to FIFA.
“Players are being punished for the wrong they did not commit. It is unfair that players should be made liable for decisions that are beyond their responsibility. Liability should be matched with responsibility.”
“Players should only be liable for decisions they make or for their performance on the football field and not for errors and omissions committed in the boardroom”, he said.
Masaseng said “the BFA should do the right thing and not make players scapegoats. The NEC meeting does not say whether the deregistered players will be given chance to register again since the transfer period is closed. The BFA NEC should let the season end and engage stakeholders to find an amicable solution. FUB expect the players whose contracts are terminated to be fully compensated.”
Masaseng on Friday said the Union will be writing a letter to the premier league board chair to try and head off a dispute that is brewing.
He said stakeholders need to be addressed because the players who are supposed to be deregistered have running contracts with their employers (teams).