Tuesday, August 9, 2022

BFA found wanting again

Last week, it was the Botswana Football League (BFL) Disciplinary Committee 
(DC) delivering a chastening indictment of the Botswana Football Association 
(BFA).

This week, it is the BFA’s own Disciplinary Committee delivering what maybe the 
most damning indictment of the association. On Friday, the BFA DC ruled Rollers 
had no case to answer on the charges of disclosing of confidential information 
contrary to the BFA statutes.


The charges stemmed from BFA’s own ruinous penchant of trying to sanitize its 
somewhat irrational decisions. In this case, the BFA, it seems, was trying to 
strong-arm Rollers not to reveal the misdeeds within the association’s Transfer 
Management System (TMS).


Taken to task over its alleged registration of a player outside the transfer 
window, Rollers averred it was not the only team. It put it before the BFA that 
Security Systems had registered players outside the transfer window.

 
BFA seethed at the revelation. It reacted. An impromptu ‘audit of the TMS’ was 
allegedly undertaken. The revelations, according to the BFA secretariat led by 
chief executive officer Mfolo Mfolo revealed ‘Rollers was the only team to have 
breached the TMS rules.’ Rollers was slapped with a charge for disclosing 
confidential information in the TMS.


Even as the BFA tried to muzzle Rollers, talks on the issue persisted.  BFA 
reacted again. A board member within the football association was suspended. 
But the discussion roared on unabated. In exasperation, the BFA president 
Maclean Letshwiti reacted.


He released a press statement to ‘warn, and dismiss with contempt rumours and 
allegations peddled by some in the media, affiliate clubs, some officials in clubs 
and football structures.’ The BFA president even went on to state that the 
association had taken measures and instituted ‘relevant processes to address 
the malicious intent to bring football into disrepute by some clubs and officials.


And like in the case before the BFL DC, when the moment of truth beckoned, the 
BFA was found wanting. Called to show the audited paper trail showing Rollers 
were the only club to have registered a player outside the window, BFA stalled. 
Suddenly, the details or paper trail of the audit was confidential. It could not be 
given to a judicial structure for a determination on a matter brought forth by the 
association.


This seemingly disingenuous approach was not so dissimilar to another the 
association had taken in a matter handled by the BFL DC earlier. In that case, the
BFA had refused for the material witnesses, those who were involved in the 
alleged ‘unlawful registration’ to come bear witness. BFA’s pretence was that the
said individuals had been suspended from footballing activities. In its ruling, the BFL DC’s lamented that ‘it did not get the benefits of the full details of just what 
transpired’ in the player registration. 


Fast forward to the BFA DC ruling, the similarity is staggering. The only 
difference here is that whereas the BFL DC fell short of directly indicting the BFA 
in its ruling, the BFA DC pulled no punches.

 
“There is an allegation of the existence of an audit trail report compiled by the 
complainant for purposes of confirming or disproving the information submitted 
by the respondent concerning the registration of Security Systems players. Upon 
being requested to submit the said audit trail report to the committee, the 
complainant declined to do so on account of the confidential nature of the 
document and further on the belief it was irrelevant to the proceedings,” the BFA
DC stated.


In the absence of proof that Rollers could have got the information about 
Security Systems alleged late registration of players from the TMS, the BFA DC 
ruled it found itself ‘inhibited from making a ‘finding.’ 


Of greater interest however is the BFA DC finding on the registration of Security 
Systems. This is where the BFA came unstuck. Its stance that Security Systems 
had registered players as amateurs before correcting the registration to 
professional after the transfer window had elapsed failed to hold water. In the 
end, BFA was ruled to have manipulated the system to help Security Systems 
register players outside the regulated transfer period.


“It is the committee’s finding that under the above circumstances, there is 
evidence of manipulating of the system by the complainant in favour of Security 
Systems Football Club,” the BFA DC ruled.  

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