Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The power and the gory – Inside the BPL board bloodbath

There was blood on the floor of the Botswana Premier League boardroom last week as the Botswana (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC) flexed its muscle wielding the guillotine.

Botswana Football Association) last week suspended the entire Botswana Premier League (BPL) board and its activities sending the local football into another tail spin.

The BPL board’s suspension came a few hours after the board wrote a letter to Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) requesting that the sponsor be asked to disburse the league prize money.

A series of letters leaked to the Sunday standard presents a glimpse into the chaos and head butting playing out in the country’s football corridors of power

The BPL board on 16th June wrote a letter asking the BFA to engage Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited under the banner beMobile to release the sponsorship prize monies to clubs. ‘’All other teams be given their prize monies as per the current log standing except for Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs.”….. until the determination of the champion has been concluded, urged the BPL.

BFA response however indicated continuous failure to set a meeting with the sponsor to settle the prize money issue. ‘’Although we have been in constant contact with the sponsor, we regret to advise that we have not been able to secure a meeting with them. It is apparent that the sponsor would want that meeting to sit after we have fully addressed concerns that they raise of breach of contract. We are working round the clock to comply with the sponsor’s requirements such that the envisaged meeting can sit sooner rather later,” replied the BFA on the 7th of July.

BPL then went a step further and asked the BNSC to intervene. In a letter addressed to BNSC acting CEO Mojaboswa Maje and BFA CEO Kitso Kemoeng, the BPL board argued that failure to disburse the prize money compromised the sporting integrity of the upcoming season as most clubs are cash strapped.

‘’Premier League clubs are suffering acute financial embarrassment due to the failure to release the prize money to clubs. As you are aware, most of the clubs do not have sponsors and the prize money will greatly assist clubs to meet their financial obligations towards their creditors, including players. Failure by clubs to pay players is a very serious matter and in addition to it being against the labour laws of the country, FIFA takes great exception to such matters and may impose certain punitive measures against such clubs, should the players take up the matter with FIFA,” stated the BPL board letter.

The BPL further pointed out that their clubs cash flow crisis had adversely affected their off season preparations, with the result that the sporting integrity of the upcoming season may be adversely affected as we might result in an uncompetitive upcoming season.

‘’We hereby request for your urgent intervention on this matter. As we have stated that the current situation not only compromises the sporting integrity of the upcoming season, but it also places clubs in unfair position of potentially being punished by FIFA and also breaching the labour laws of the country, due to no fault of theirs,” said BPL.   

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