Botswana National Sports Commission has instructed National Sports Associations (NSAs) to postpone ‘non-essential’ activities until the next financial year.
The instruction was relayed during an impromptu virtual general meeting with all sporting codes this past Thursday.
According to those who attended the meeting, sporting codes were informed that the economy had taken a knock, thus affecting the government funding.
The affiliates were however informed that the order to stop funding activities would not affect those sporting activities described as ‘necessary.’
“We were informed that only national teams whose participation in competitions has been confirmed will be allowed to go ahead with activities,” a source said.
“Even for them to be considered, there should be evidence that there will be financial repercussions if they do not compete,” the source continued.
Another source said the same olive branch was extended to sporting codes which are preparing for major competitions.
“For teams which are preparing to qualify for major competitions like the Olympics or African Cup of Nations, activities are allowed to continue,” the source explained.
“At the meeting, the BNSC informed affiliates that there were no funds for sporting activities. They were rather advised to rethink and come up with ideas of what they can do from now onwards while waiting for the new financial year,” another source explained.
It is said that affiliates were informed that the commission will only help with funds for operational costs, which include rent, power and salaries.
“Affiliates were further requested to stop face to face meetings with immediate effect. They were further advised to postpone workshops and seminars.”
“They were informed that the BNSC is consulting with the register of societies for a waiver to allow them not to host elective general meetings,” said the source.
Of interest however, it is said that affiliates were informed that the commission ‘may cover the costs of virtual meetings.’
“For those wishing to continue with activities, they have been informed that they will be expected to produce COVID-19 negative results to be allowed to participate in any activity,” a source explained.
“They were however informed that national associations will only pay for national team tests only. If it is not national teams, individuals and clubs will be expected to pay for their tests,” said the source.
Commenting on the matter, acting BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho said the commission has not stopped funding.
“What the NSAs were told is that they should not expect funding for activities that are not business critical,” the acting CEO explained.
“We informed them that the commission will only pay for critical needs such as rent, power and salaries. It will also cover other sport commitments of importance like national team preparations and games,” he said.
The BNSC CEO said the decision came as the government is facing financial challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Serufho said for those sporting codes who wish to continue with activities, the commission would allow them, but only if they adhere to the set guidelines.
“Even when allowed, NSAs will not be funded to pay for COVID tests unless it is for national teams. Clubs and individual athletes will have to pay for their own tests,” he said.
Serufho said where a third of clubs competing in a league return positive results during tests, the BNSC would close them until such a time the cases have gone down.