Friday, October 30, 2020

Club licensing lands local teams at the crossroads

Pundits and club officials alike are not optimistic that many clubs will comply with club licensing requirements. This comes as the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Premier League (BPL) delegation prepares to meet Premier League clubs to assess their readiness.

The assessment of clubs, which will start tomorrow (Monday), comes before clubs can apply to the First Instance Body (FIB) for consideration. While clubs have known all along about their need to comply, crisis that had engulfed the Premier League, as well as financial instability are said to have inhibited them from working towards compliance for club licencing.

According to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), clubs should have met some minimum requirements before the new season starts. Among the minimum needs, local clubs should have functional offices, full time general managers, accountant, qualified coaches and technical team, development teams, home grounds as well as audited financial reports. According to BPL Chief Executive Officer Bennett Mamelodi, while this will be just a preliminary assessment, clubs will be expected to have complied with the bare minimums of the requirements by the end of August at the latest.

“CAF is of the view that Botswana has taken a long time to start club licensing and they are now insisting that teams be compliant. We therefore have no option but to ensure that we comply,” the BPL CEO explained.

He said should clubs not be compliant when they are applying to the FIB, they would probably not be sanctioned to compete in the coming season.

Mamelodi explained that the FIB, which has already been formed, will be made of independent people not affiliated to any local club. While he said clubs would have the opportunity to appeal the decisions of the FIB, he however said it would be in the team’ interest to work hard and meet the basic requirements of compliance.

Reached for comment, local football analyst Monty Gaomokgwa said he was of the view that not many clubs would comply with the CAF Club Licensing prerequisites. Gaomokgwa opined that given the short time left for clubs to comply, it would be very difficult for most clubs. “Currently, only six or seven clubs have a chance of meeting the club licensing requirements. All other clubs are very far behind and I am of the view that if CAF strictly requires that teams be compliant before they can play, many will not be in the league when the new season starts,” he observed.

He further said had Botswana started the processes of club licensing a long time back as other countries such as Lesotho, it would have been much easier as the process would have been undertaken step by step and not all at once as it may be at the moment.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs General Manager Zaahid Jalal said: “It is going to be difficult to comply”. He said even for teams such as Chiefs, who had already tried to apply for club licensing when they wanted to play in the CAF Champions League, it would still be a very difficult process.

“It will not only be Chiefs but almost all the teams in general that will struggle to comply. Most of the teams are struggling financially and money will be required to meet the basic requirements of club licensing,” Jalal explained. “For clubs to comply, they need to have audited reports, accountants, have stadiums or leased ones, and have a legal representative and a medic or a doctor, just to mention a few. For a club to have all these, money is required,” the Chiefs boss said. However, he was hopeful that the association would be at hand to help clubs in the process.

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