Saturday, October 31, 2020

Local footballers decry Covid-19 stipend dummy

As part of its Covid-19 relief for sport, government pledged to assist local players with a stipend up to P2 500 a month during the months of May, June and July.

It has however since emerged that not every player received the P2 500 in its entirety as some received lesser amounts. 

This was also confirmed by Notwane spokesperson, Mogomotsi Ace Orapeleng, who says the majority of their players are yet to receive their full complement of the relief funds.

“We have written the Botswana Premier League (BPL) a letter seeking clarity on why the players did not receive the money that was pledged by government. We are hopeful that they will assist us,” said an optimistic Orapeleng.

He said so far, only three of all the players and officials entitled for the COVID 19 relief in their team had received all their dues, while a large majority received varying amounts all less than the pledged amounts. 

Reached for comment, MYSC Permanent Secretary (PS) Kago Ramokate said there is no how the players could have been hard done in the process.

He said the ministry did calculations based on documents they received from the BFA through the BNSC. 

“If there was any variation, we ought to know the reasons as to why there are changes. There can never be a change without our knowledge,” he observed.

He said the players who earned more than P2 500 a month from their teams were to be given maximum of P2 500 from the government relief funds and the teams were expected to top up to meet their salaries. 

“Those who were earning more than P2 500 were given P2 500, but those who were earning less were given what they were earning,” he explained.

According to Ramokate, ‘they could not use COVID19 relief funds to give players who were earning less than P2 500 more money.’ 

“If you earned P1000 we only give you what you earned not P2 500 that was pledged by government,” Ramokate explained.  

The MYSC PS says there seems to be confusion among teams as to how the relief funds were to be paid. 

“No one was to take advantage of the situation. it was just a cushion and it was not meant for players to benefit more from it,” he said.  

He advised that those who have misgivings should approach the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) so that they can be assisted however necessary, be it to adjust or to explain what happened. 

“Players have the liberty to approach BNSC for their complaints to be addressed. When it comes to issues of money, we all have to account accordingly and BNSC has all the answers for the players or whoever is complaining,” explains Ramokate.

The same words were echoed by the BFA chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo who said ‘any complaints regarding the relief funds are handled by BNSC.’ 

“We only facilitated in submitting players contracts to the BNSC and they are the ones who executed the whole process,” Mfolo says. 

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