Saturday, February 24, 2024

Mobile tariffs adjustment could spell doom for FA cup hopes

Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) directive to the country’s three mobile network operators ÔÇô BTC, Mascom Wireless and Orange Botswana ÔÇô to reduce a key component making up voice charges by 41% is impinging on negotiations between Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Orange Botswana as the potential backer of the FA cup.

BOCRA issued the directive in March 2017 as is mandated by Section 6 (2) of the Communications Regulatory Authority Act, 2012 (CRA Act) to protect and promote the interest of consumers, purchasers and other users of the services in the regulated sectors. Sunday Standard has learnt that due to the 41 percent drop in mobile tariffs, BFA failed to secure the frontline partner that was expected to sponsor the FA tournament which was expected to resume this season after a six season hiatus.

The last time the FA cup was played was in 2012 when it was sponsored by Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) trading as Coca-Cola Company where the winner pocketed P500-000. Gaborone United won 4-2 on penalty shoot-out against Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

It is said the BOCRA standardised charges have affected the business turnover of the potential sponsor leading to longevity of the negotiations. The predicament forced the Botswana Premier League (BPL) to release draft fixtures of the 2018/19 season without the FA cup schedule.

Speaking to Sunday Standard this week, BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo said negotiations with the potential sponsor are ongoing despite challenges faced by front liners in the sponsorship deal. ‘’It seems pronouncement by BOCRA to standardise charges of mobile operators has affected business turnaround of our potential sponsors but they are still on board negotiating with the association on the best way to assist. They are willing to give us a run and we are looking into a model that will best suit football in the deal. We have been in constant communication with our regions with concerns to the FA cup and hopefully we will conclude negotiations soon at least for the benefit of regional football,” narrated Mfolo.

He said they are aware of draft fixtures without inclusion of the FA cup, which he noted they have been in constant communication with the BPL. ‘’Our structures have been liaising with the BPL and if we conclude negotiations and decide to play the FA cup this coming season, then the FA cup fixtures can be engulfed in between,” said Mfolo.

For his part, BPL CEO Thabo Ntshinogang said they did not cater for the FA cup in their schedule as nothing concrete has emerged from the BFA. ‘’We have released the draft fixtures to clubs and hopefully the actual fixture programme will be released next week. The programme took into consideration the CAF and FIFA calendar for the upcoming season,” said Ntshinogang.


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