The Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has dismissed an application by the BPL Secretariat to be party to proceeding in the ongoing Mochudi Centre Chiefs versus Township Rollers saga.
The BPL, through their Prosecutor Mike Rasetshwane, had applied to be cited as an interested party to the proceedings. When making submissions before the committee, Rasetshwane said as coordinators of the Mascom Top 8 tournament, the Premier League should be afforded a chance to be part of the proceedings as amicus curiae (friends of the court/DC).
He further said the BPL are custodians of the Mascom Top 8 tournament and they need to be part of the proceedings to answer for any issues which may need clarification. Rasetshwane further said the BPL should have been cited as they are decision makers, especially because issues of fraud were highlighted in the Chiefs protest.
The application was however questioned by the BPL DC, who wanted to know why, for the first time, the BPL was interested in being party to the case as they have always avoided being involved in disputes between clubs. The DC also questioned whether the involvement of the BPL would not affect their impartiality in the case. The DC’s view was shared by Centre Chiefs who also questioned the interest of BPL in being cited in the case between two teams. Opposing the BPL application, Chiefs representative, Gabriel Kanjabanga said it would not be right for the BPL to appear in a case between the two teams. He argued that since the BPL DC is appointed by the BPL, appearing in the case by the BPL as ‘friends of the DC’ will not seem right. Just as with the DC, Kanjabanga argued that should the BPL be allowed to be party to proceedings, it will put in doubt their impartiality. As has been the norm, he said the BPL must not be involved and should let the teams settle their disputes. On why the BPL was not cited in the matter, Kanjabanga said it was a deliberate move by Chiefs as they had intended to call on the BPL, through its Chiefs Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi, as witnesses in the case.
The Chiefs representative said as it has never happened before for the BPL to feel inclined to be cited in a case between two teams.
“It is surprising that they seem so interested in this particular case. The BPL must be denied a chance to be party to the proceedings because we intend to call them as witnesses during the proceedings,” said Kanjabanga.
For his part, Rollers’ representative, Khumoyame Masonya said the BPL should be allowed to participate in the proceedings as Rollers was wrongly cited in the case. In the end, the BPL DC dismissed the application, saying the BPL is no competent party to proceedings. They then excused the BPL from proceedings.