The Botswana Premier League (BPL) is optimistic that an agreement they signed with their Spanish counterparts, the Primera Divisi├│n, will help them in their campaign to commercialise the local game.
La Liga, as the Spanish Primera Divisi├│n is popularly known, has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the BPL to ‘work together to contribute to the development of professional football in the country.
The agreement was signed Friday by the BPL Board Chairman Rapula Okaile and the Director of La Liga’s Offices in Africa Antonio Barradas.
Under the agreement, La Liga is expected to help BPL with ‘expertise in areas such as commercial, marketing, innovation, finances and administration as well as corporate governance and management,’ just to mention a few.
With no sponsors coming on board, the number of spectators at the BPL matches dwindling by the week and most local clubs drowning in red ink, the Botswana Football Association (BFA), the BPL and local clubs are optimistic that the agreement will offer them some much needed turnaround strategies.
“La Liga will be providing the BPL with expertise in terms of marketing. They will be providing us with training in terms of our structures. They will help us build initiatives and provide us with support,” BFA second Vice president Marshlow Motlogelwa explained.
Motlogelwa said once the agreement is in full implementation, experts from La Liga will come to Botswana to train clubs in areas such as management of clubs, marketing as well as finance issues.
“They will also look at issues of finances, whereby they will look at accountability. They will train our people and capacitate them in such a way that it should be sustainable running our clubs,” Motlogelwa explained.
The BFA second VP said they will also be looking at La Liga to advice the local league on a proper model to follow as the BPL does not have a clear cut model.
For his part, Barradas said there was a lot that the BPL and local clubs could learn from the La Liga.
“Four or five years ago, the clubs in Spain owed the tax authorities 750 million Euros. Today, the clubs owe no monies to any player because La Liga put in place a system where clubs cannot spend more than their income,” Barradas explained.
As part of the system, Barradas said where clubs used to make their own deals with La Liga sponsors, which resulted in big clubs getting almost all the share of the sponsorship, the league took control of the contracts and pooled together the monies to ensure all teams get a slice.
“La Liga created so many initiatives which Botswana clubs can learn from which will be good for football,” said Barradas.
The same sentiments were echoed by Okaile, who said the local clubs will benefit a lot from learning from the La Liga system.
“What is happening right now is that most of our clubs are living beyond their means. This (collaboration with La Liga) is what we need to learn to make sure that we live within our means,” he said.
The BPL Board Chairman further said the BPL Board will in the near future go on a retreat to deliberate on a sustainable pay structure for local clubs.
“We are waiting for a retreat that we are going to have to make sure that we have a pay structure where we would have a bottom and upper basing on our means so that if we cannot get the grants we are expecting, we can still live within where we are, and thanks to La Liga because they have the same model,” said Okaile.