Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Who let them spectators in?

It seems Orlando Pirates were not just unhappy with the derelict state of the National Stadium when they clashed with Jwaneng Galaxy.

The South Africa football giants are said to have not been amused at seeing spectators on the stands when they played against Galaxy on Valentine’s Day.

The presence of spectators at the game presents a clear violation of CAF’s COVID-19 prevention regulations, which bars supporters from attending their sanctioned games.

Questions are now abounding as to how spectators managed to acquire Botswana Football Association (BFA) accreditations to watch the game between Jwaneng Galaxy and Orlando Pirates.

According to one source, on match day, some Pirates officials were not happy with the episode and it is yet to be known whether they will report to CAF.

“When we spoke to one Pirates official on the day, they were not happy with what they saw. They however non-committal on whether they will report to CAF,” a source said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one administrator said it looked like Botswana Football Association (BFA) had over accredited.

“What we observed was that when the game started, one stand, popularly known as the Notwane stand was a third full,” the administrator says.

The administrator says while some of the accreditations were from the media, there could also have been some who were not members of the media.

Asked on how the spectators could have got hold of the accreditation tags, the administrator said all the accreditation was handled by the BFA.

“If there were any accreditations given to spectators, then it would mean some people within the BFA had made extra and they ended up in spectators’ hands,” the administrator said.

“If you look at the accreditations, most were for ‘host association,’ and were not for club officials,” he said.

“This categorically means those carrying the accreditations were employees of the BFA deployed to work as part of the association’s match day personnel,” the administrator explained.

Meanwhile, this publication can confirm that some of the spectators were not from the BFA or the media fraternity.

As early as Saturday, one would be spectator posted on Facebook a ‘Host Association’ accreditation which he would be using to gain entry to the stadium.

Attempts to get clarity from the BFA on how the accreditations fell in the hands of spectators proved futile as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was said to be out on official duties.

Should the matter be reported to CAF, the administrator said the BFA would face a hefty US$10 000 fine.

“However, as you may know, sanctions depend on the gravity of the offense and they may be less or more,” the administrator said.

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