The President of the Botswana Football Association (BFA), Tebogo Sebego, says there was no undue pressure from elsewhere in their decision to upturn the Botswana Premier League (BPL) Board’s decision to relegate Sankoyo Bush Bucks. The BFA President said the association was just following ‘rules of natural justice’ when it made its decision. After conflicting resolutions by the Botswana Premier League (BPL) Board, which had threatened to send Sankoyo back to the National First Division league, the BFA NEC on Friday morning endorsed the BFA National Appeals Board (NAB) that the team be docked only three points and two goals, meaning the Maun based outfit is spared relegation.
The decision came just two days after the Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng had called for ‘rules of the game to be followed to the letter and applied properly and consistently for the sake of fair play and decisions of the National Appeals Board to be respected and understood, without interpretations that are self-serving.’ Asked whether the Minister’s speech had any effect on the final decision by the BFA NEC, Sebego replied that the speech had no bearing on the issue. “If you recall well, immediately after the BPL Board resolution to dock Sankoyo points and relegate them, the BFA NEC felt that as the highest structure they must intervene. This was because we felt that the decision lacked application of natural justice. So, the Minister’s call came after we had already decided to look into the issue,” Sebego said.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday Standard after the BFA NEC overturned the BPL decision, Sebego said the BFA has rules and regulations which have to be followed and his committee was duty bound to ensure they are followed. Earlier when addressing the media on the issue, Sebego said only three points and two goals will be docked from Sankoyo and awarded to FC Satmos as they are the only team that had protested against the team for using a defaulter in a match between the two sides. He however said the BFA had set up a two man enquiry commission made up of BFA NEC member Eatametse Olopeng and BFA legal advisor Onkagetse Pusoentsi to look into whether a charge of misconduct can be served against Sankoyo. Once the commission has made findings, Sankoyo is likely to be called for a disciplinary hearing.
With a decision now taken, the BFA President said FC Satmos and Notwane will play against each other this coming Wednesday to decide their fate. Meanwhile, the BFA President said the association will continue working on its initiative to ensure there are no conflicts of interest in the BPL Board and teams. “There was a mistake we made. We had the wisdom to form a League Management Committee (LMC), which would have been tasked with the day to day running of the Premier League. This committee would have been made of neutral individuals and led by the BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and would have worked with the chairmen of clubs to address all these issues. This committee would have addressed the issues properly without being conflicted,” Sebego said. He said the plan will go ahead with the LMC and give it powers to run the BPL.