Thursday, February 25, 2021

FIFA threat to Botswana over Constituency league still alive

A threat by FIFA to ban Botswana from all international competitions is reported to be still looming if there are no radical changes in the Constituency League.

Information reaching Sunday Standard is that FIFA is still closely monitoring the situation with keen interest and might strike when least expected.

Currently, the government is on an introspection mission of the Constituency League and has engaged various stakeholders to come up with new modalities. But a reliable source, told Sunday Standard that that the only solution is for the government to discard the tournament or relinquish the running of it to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) or else it would be seen as interference.

“There can be endless meetings, debates about the running of the tournament, but that should not be done outside the parameters of the BFA. There is no way there could be a parallel tournament or league to the recognized football body. FIFA is now well aware of what is happening and they might hit us where it hurts the most,” said the source.

The Constituency League is the brain child of President Ian Khama. It has since come under severe criticism from both political and football circles. Even though the government deems the constituency league as a way of keeping people off the streets by keeping them busy, opposition parties see it as a populist pet project to try to buy voters.

In football circles, it is seen as an impediment to football development because it does not have a base and is open to everybody to play. As such, some kids with potential to make it big in football end up going for constituency league.

In the past, the BFA has had endless meetings with government officials to resolve the matter but to little avail. It remains to be seen how the situation will play out.

Last year, it was reported that the league gobbled well over P28 million from government coffers. Some are arguing that the money should be used to develop football at grass roots so that Botswana can be a force to reckon with in years to come.

On the other hand, the source emphasized that the Botswana government should learn from countries that attracted the wrath of FIFA in the past. He said FIFA has a tendency of never warning member countries when they are wrong in running the football matters but they just act.

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