Sunday, August 1, 2021

Cloud of doubt hangs over BFL business model

The newly formed Botswana Football League (BFL) created to turn the fortunes of the league around seems to be ill conceived. 

The architects of the idea are yet to explain to the football fraternity as to how the BFL company will function. 

So far, only twelve teams out of the sixteen premier league teams are shareholders in the BFL company. This is according to CIPA website. 

Lobatse Extension Gunners, one of the only teams never to have relegated from the elite league is one of four teams that does not have shareholding in the company, BFL PTY LTD. The other three are Orapa United, Security Systems and Mogoditshane Fighters.  

When the idea to turn around fortunes of the league came about, it was decided that all elite league teams will be shareholders in the company.  All the teams with shareholding in the company are destined to benefit from the company if it will accumulate profit. The company was registered on June 30th 2020. 

Jimmy George the football commentator is of the view that the idea will not work in Botswana. “I think the premier league teams and officials have to apply their minds first before executing it,” he observed.

“The formation of a company is noble idea but it will not work in Botswana. It can work where the league is professional and, in our case, it will not work because there is lack of accountability. The company will need all the teams to comply with the basic rules of professionalism. Hence, I say the execution of it is problematic.

George noted that the league has to explain to all so that it can be embraced. 

“They have to explain to us what will happen if the team relegates to lower divisions. Gore a team e ta bo e jelwe kana jang?” questioned George. No team will like to go home empty handed when they had a stake in the company. “In terms of assets, when the company accumulates property, how relegated teams will benefit needs to be explained otherwise it is a company that will never see the light of day,” he observed.

Mmegi Sports editor, Dube believes the BFL leadership must come up in the open and explain how the company is going to operate. “It’s an issue that has to be resolved. It cannot just be swept under the carpet. I believe they probably have an answer because it is a model that is being used elsewhere, so they need to have those answers. I don’t think it’s a company that will ordinarily operate like the ordinary company that we all know. There probably are other modalities that we are not aware of. It is something that they need to take the public on about to tell us how exactly it operates. It is a new thing. For instance, the team that relegates what happens to that team, is it still part of the company or the one that is promoted takes over the shares of the others. In short BFL management must give direction,” he said.

The BFL chief executive officer, Solomon Ramochotlhwane could not comment further than sending a brief WhatsApp message, “Allowed to comment after 30th July when everything is in order. Currently no answer.” He was asked to clarify on how the relegated teams will benefit from the company. 

Gunners’ spokesperson, Gerald Mahumba, when asked why his team does not have shares in the BFL after it was said the 16 clubs will hold shares in the company said: “I wouldn’t know for now. What I know is that we have Gunners Holdings Pty ltd and business name Extension Gunners FC.” Mahumba was not aware that his team is not part of the teams that have shareholding in the BFL. 

The BFL constitution will be released in July. 

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