The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is happy with the progress made to find a solution for the thorny constituency tournament issue.
With the FIFA deadline for the BFA to have made tangible progress over the issue is just 8 days away, the association and Batswana can now have a slight sense of relief as both the BFA and the Government seem to have made headway on the issue.
BFA president, Tebogo Sebego, said an agreement “in principle” with the government over how they will run the constituency tournament had now been made.
Under the agreement, the BFA will be responsible for running the tournament’s technical side while the Botswana Government will be responsible for its administration.
The agreement comes after the BFA President had a meeting with the President of the country, Lt. General Ian Khama to chat a way forward.
Among the meeting’s attendees were the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Vincent Seretse, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ruth Maphorisa, as well as the BFA Development Officer for the Southern Africa region, Ashford Mamelodi.
While the finer details of the agreement are yet to be thrashed out, it is hoped that the current agreement will go well with FIFA and help avert any sanction by FIFA on Botswana.
The BFA president said the association has always been confident that an amicable solution would be reached as both the Government and his association are interested in the development and growth of football in the country.
Concerning the looming deadline set by FIFA and the potential repercussions, Sebego said the BFA was not worried about the World football controlling body taking any adverse steps against them.
“FIFA has no interest in sanctioning or destroying football in the country. They are there for the BFA,” he explained.
Sebego expressed optimism that optimistic the agreed solution would be enough to appease the World Football governing mother body.
“They (FIFA) are interested in seeing more people play football. This government initiative of constituency tournaments has helped in this regard. Through it, football has spread to remote areas where we as the association had no reach and this is what we as the BFA and FIFA are interested in,” he explained.
As the custodian of football in the country, the BFA is tasked with regulating footballing activities locally and the running of the constituency tournament was viewed as running parallel to this, hence the current situation.
He said all FIFA wanted was for the BFA to regulate the tournament, something which he believes will be achieved under the current agreement.
“We as the association are happy that we will be taking control of the technical aspect of the tournament. This means we will take care of issues such as that of play regulation and rules as well as player movement and training of administrators in the constituency tournament,” he explained.
Sebego however said with the BFA not having the capacity to run the tournament due to limitation in resources, the administrative side of the tournament will continue to be in the hands of the government.
Meanwhile, the FIFA Development officer for the region has expressed hope that FIFA will be happy with the progress made.
He said the issue will be on the table for discussion when FIFA’s Development Committee meets on the 22nd of this month.
While he would not comment further on what is likely to happen as FIFA is yet to take a decision, the FIFA Development Officer said that as a citizen of this country, he was happy with what transpired at the meeting with the President Khama, describing it as a “very fruitful meeting.”