Referees doing duty in the Botswana Football League (BFL), being the Premier League and First Division, are crying foul over unpaid payments due to delays from Botswana Football Association (BFA).
Referees say while they are expected to quietly get on with their jobs and honour their obligations, the association is not helping their cause.
According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, what saddens referees the most is that they are not allowed to express their feelings. Instead, they have to live with fear of being axed if they dare openly challenge the powers that be.
“It has been a very long time since referees received their payments, even for the first division match day duties. When they express their grievances or even comprehend boycotting games to force payment, they are told to show cause why the association should not fire them. This is despite demanding monies owed to them for services rendered,” the source says.
This season, referees are said to have agreed with the BFA that they will be paid their monies every five weeks. They however say the last time they received their due payables was during week 10 of the season.
“Now we are in week 18 and nothing is being said as to when the referees will be paid. All they hear from those responsible is that there were mistakes with the payroll or with some of the claims and these are being corrected. Yet, when they spoke with referees a while back regarding first division payments, referees were told their claims have been submitted to the BFA and payments will be done soon. Now the tune has changed,” the source reveals.
Speaking to this publication on condition of anonymity, one referee confirmed the allegations when reached for comment.
“Many of us also still have outstanding payments from this past season which the association is seemingly keen to forget,” the referee says.
On what could be the cause, the referee says the finger of blame points to the BFA Referees’ Manager Phodiso Jonty Rasetsoga. He says the BFA Referees’ Manager has usurped all the responsibilities of making claims from the referees.
“Previously, referees wrote their claims and submitted to the BFA for verification and payment. Nowadays, Jonty (Rasebotsa) just sends us our claims and all we have to do is sign for them. Most of the time, these claims are incomplete as he does not include all matches done by an official. This is the reason why many payments from the past season are pending and also why payments are getting delayed,” the referee says.
Reached for comment, BFL Communications Officer to BFL, Mosimanegape Tshoswane acknowledged that referees’ in the premier league have not been paid what is due to them. He says the BFL pays referees through the office of BFA Referees Manager. He however states that the BFL is yet to receive any claims from the BFA Referees Manager as expected.
“Any questions over the non-payment of referees’ monies should be directed to the office of the BFA referees manager. We at BFL get claim forms from him as per the agreement we have with referees. We are however aware that he has been busy dealing with conducting courses which might be the reason for the delay,” Tshoswane states.
He says the BFL is not aware that referees have been complaining regarding payment as they have never approached BFL to ague their issue. “We are hearing this issue for the first time. This issue will be solved and dealt with,” he adds.
Attempts by this publication to reach Rasetsoga for comment have since proven futile.