The start of the football season in Botswana hangs in the balance with key stakeholders, referees and match assessors owed money from last December. According to information gathered by this publication the referees are planning to boycott the league until they are paid.
Talking to some referees on condition of anonymity they said the war between the Botswana Football Association and the premier league has delayed things.
“Since December we have not been paid and they want to start the league without paying us,” said one of the officials.
According to the referees the league also want to use them to use own cars when they go to matches.
“Where are they going to get money to pay us for using our cars when they cannot pay us the money they owe us?”
Concerned officials say they are also expected to book themselves accommodation and the league will pay later unlike in the past where the league was the one booking accommodation for the officials.
“We had good relationship with the suspended premier league CEO, Bennett Mamelodi. Whenever he said he will pay us we were sure he means it.”
The referees credit Mamelodi for introducing professionalism on the part of match officials. In the past the referees were compromised because they could go to the matches with unreliable cars that can break on the way or they could ask ride from team officials the thing that compromised them.
The other thing that annoys match officials is the allegation that some team officials want to know who has been assigned to officiate at their games.
“We do not want team officials to interfere with our work. They should not be concerned as to who is going to officiate where, that they should leave to referees alone. Some team officials have started talking to officials and inviting them for meetings,” said the source.
When asked when they are going to pay the referees Kemoeng admitted they have a back log of liabilities.
“We are pursuing solutions to bring the situation to normal,” he said.
Asked if they will manage to have paid the officials before the league commences he said, they are looking at various options to extinguish all our liabilities.
“We are hopeful that by the time the league starts all problems will be solved.”
Kemoeng could not commit to the last time the officials were paid save to say he has to consult his colleagues to check when was the last time the referees were paid and how much they are owed.
On Monday evening it was reported that the Gaborone referees who are officiating in the top national leagues were meeting the BFA president to find solution to their problems.