Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Football league needs P36 million to restart

As the dark cloud of the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to hover over the sporting fraternity, resumption of the leagues may prove a costly exercise for Botswana Football Association (BFA).

It is estimated that the BFA needs around P36 million to conclude the 2019/20 football season for the elite league and first division men leagues.

The Sunday Standard Sport understands that the BFA medical team advised that the leagues can only commence if there are measures in place for testing of teams.

The medical team is recommending all players in the leagues should be tested once or twice a week for the leagues to resume safely.

The premier league boasts a staggering 480 players and at least 160 technical team members while first division players stand at 720 and about 140 technical personnel.  With about 1500 personnel expected to turn up for weekly routine testing, the figure is seemingly staggering for the cash strapped BFA and clubs alike.

On average, a premier league billing for weekly tests of COVID 19 could stand at around P60 000 as news reaching the publication indicates that a single test cost around P1 500.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, the BFA medical committee chairman Lone Bogwasi said they have completed and handed the guidelines of the operation restart to the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC).

“We have analysed the situation and recommended to the NEC as our duty is to make sure that the safety of players comes first. The guidelines are clear and the league will only commence if we abide by the book,” said Bogwasi.

Asked whether it is practical for the league to restart due to the cost implication of weekly tests, Bogwasi said admitted it will be difficult.

“Honestly it will be a challenge if we continue but the matter now is out of our hands as we cannot take decisions,” he explains.

“It is for the NEC to take a decision as we do not know whether their coffers will allow for the league to continue. The fact of the matter is that the weekly tests will be a bit expensive,’’ he adds.

With some leagues across the World preparing for league restarts, the premier league and the federations are responsible for testing costs.

Bogwasi however says he cannot comment on whether the sports Ministry or the BFA and BPL will assist ‘as you are aware that the government had once proposed mass testing that ended in a reversed decision in favour of contact tracing.

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