The Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (BFA NEC)’s decision to plead for clemency for the five premier league teams relegated for club licensing noncompliance is polarizing opinion.
On one side, there are those who believe the decision to relegate the teams should be upheld. On the other end are those who believe the punishment meted is both drastic or severe.
For local football commentator Jimmy George: “the whole thing was done in bad faith. Had it been done in good faith all factors could have been considered.” He said ‘for the BFA NEC to have taken a resolution to plead with the First Instant Body (FIB) to give teams another chance to regularise is testimony that the decision was not in good faith.’
“The BFA NEC is using their consciousness because they knew that the decision did not consider many factors. It was extremely bad,” he narrated. He also opined that had the teams received prize monies or grants they could have normalised on the requirements.
George noted that the requirements should be localised. “Teams are expected to meet the high demands which are expensive and need time to achieve. Compliance is going to be difficult to achieve unless the standard is lower to meet the situation in Botswana,” he observed.
While he is of the view that the decision to relegate teams was wrong, he is also of the view that the BFA NEC’s plea for the teams to be spared relegation is not right. He said ‘it will set a bad precedence because in future the BFA NEC will have to apply the same treatment to other teams/individuals who wronged the regulations.’
This last view is also held by another local football commentator Molatlhegi Mangole, who said the BFA NEC decision to seek mercy for the teams is wrong and unconstitutional.
“The decision was made by the relevant committees and if teams feel aggrieved, they must go to CAS,” he advised. Like George, he said the decision will set a precedence that they will not stop in future.
Mangole added that to relegate the five teams is wrong because they are shareholders at the BFL and the shareholders must take a resolution as a company to dismiss the five from their league. “Without resolution the decision is a joke,” he suggested.
He said the kneejerk decisions taken at the highest level in local football will only fortify the alleged ongoing discussions among some teams to form a breakaway league. Should this come to pass, he predicted the breakaway league would attract more people and sponsors.
“The meetings are currently going on and teams are planning a break way team. Some of the teams in the elite league with large following will be joining the relegated and powerful ones from first division leagues,” he alleged.
Commentator and former scribe Dennis Keagile, says clubs must be held accountable. “It is high time clubs take responsibility and ownership for their welfare regarding their day to day running of the teams. Many a time clubs are guilty and always try to shift the blame. They point fingers at different persons,” he observed.
He said local clubs are not well organized and failure to meet the club licensing requirements is a reflection of the administration of the clubs. Keagile is of the view that teams like Gunners, who have been given second chances and still fail, are ‘a disappointment and action must be taken.’
He said if there is any team that needed mercy it would be Eleven Angles. “As newbie in the league, one can feel for them. They could have been given chance to work towards meeting the standards. They are first offenders while Gunners are not the first offenders hence I am sympathetic to them,” suggested Keagile. Regarding the BFA NEC’s decision to plead for the teams to be given another chance, he said: “It is setting a bad precedence but at the same time again I think they were looking at the greater interest of football and that of football.”