Saturday, May 30, 2020

Clubs cry foul as transfer restrictions bite

By Godfrey Mowaneng

As the reality of the Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s resolution banning clubs with ‘overdue payables’ from signing new players sinks, BTC premiership clubs are fingering the BFA for lack of vision in their decision making.

The transfer ban, which came into effect at the beginning of the currently ongoing transfer window, was made by the BFA in a bid to curb the now growing clamour by players over unpaid salaries. The ongoing transfer window  was opened on the 9th January 2019 and will close on the 8th February 2019.

According to the BFA ‘all structures involved in the authorization of registration request for premier league teams are  directed to seek confirmation letter indicating that the club wishing to register new players does not have any overdue payables.’

The BFA indicated that as per club licensing regulations, clubs will only be allowed to register new after confirmation from the BFA’s Club Licensing First Instance Board (FIB) that they have no outstanding arrears.

The decision however seems to have rubbed clubs the wrong way, with some saying the BFA should be the one leading by example in terms of paying debt as they also have debts that are yet to be settled.

Clubs argue that the restriction will disadvantage others as the process will destroy competitiveness of the league if some clubs are barred from registering new players.

Mochudi Centre Chiefs mouthpiece Raymond Tsheko told Sunday Standard that it is critical to approach football matters comprehensively. He said the decision, if not properly looked into, may leave some teams running a risk of not having enough players to make a team.

‘’If players want to move from a certain club for greener pastures and the same club is restricted from registering new players then we will find ourselves in the most difficult predicament,” Tsheko Opined.

Concerning Chiefs, Tsheko had this to say; “As for now, we are recruiting because we do not know whether we are part of those that are said to be in debt and we do not know who is assessing clubs debts and believe this restriction will create a problem.”

Notwane spokesperson Mogomotsi Orapeleng shared the same sentiments, narrating that local football is not yet at the stage of punishing clubs in debt as they are financially challenged.

“This is a huge predicament as there would not be fairness and clubs need to be given time to prepare for such transition. We cannot be punished harshly at this stage as this does not only affect us at club level. It is a fact that you even find that the BFA also owes national team players due to financial constraints,” narrated Orapeleng.

“There is need for proper education without punishing and this can only be achieved through continuous training workshops for administrators. Some clubs are still on transition from the lower divisions and are still learning and we believe that the Botswana Premier League (BPL) board will look into the matter,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Sankoyo Bush Bucks Chairman John Obusitse said they have been caught off guard by the decision which they believe is not meant for football growth.

“The restriction will destroy competition and this is a big concern. Firstly BFA should have engaged clubs to try and understand predicaments they face. We approached the BFA and they said they would not recall their decision and we are now engaged with the Club Licensing First Instance Board (FIB) to map a way forward on the matter,” Obusitse said.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

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