The prolonged suspension of football activities due to Covid-19 outbreak could also be a blessing in disguise for some local premier league clubs which are still failing to comply with club licensing requirements to put their houses in order.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) has sternly warned that club licencsing requirements will be implemented in full force in the next season. After BFA introduced a club licensing and compliance manual for both the Premier League and First Division League in 2016/17 season many teams have been struggling to comply and the association had to relax the standards to accommodate them. But BFA President Maclean Letshwiti says that will not be the case any more. “We are no longer going to do that because the result is a league ya bo mma boipelego. I mean where on earth do you find a team in a professional league e tsaya mophako, this is simply because they are not supposed to be there. It is just not their league,” Letshwiti fired in an interview with The Patriot Sport.
The BFA Head is not proud about the embarrassing state in which most of local clubs are in especially those playing in the premier league. The teams are in financial distress and the situation has sine intensified because of the on-going covid-19 pandemic. Except only for a few most of these teams are currently surviving on donations as they are not able to provide for their players. Many are struggling to feed them, pay their accommodations as well as pay their monthly salaries consistently. Whilst still awaiting relief fund from government and FIFA, BFA has also used part of their operation fund given by FIFA to assist the struggling clubs. All the premier league teams were each allocated P40 000.00 and some clubs still complain that the grant is like a drop in the ocean looking at their present situation.
“The money was meant to help the teams, it is not our responsibility, we are just assisting because of covid-19 so they can’t say the money is not enough because any help is help,” Letshwiti quipped.
Club Licensing as introduced both by FIFA and CAF is the professional way to run clubs with the main purpose being to assist clubs to be in a position to run their affairs in accordance with good governance practices. Club licensing regulations concentrate on five areas being the sporting, legal, administration personnel and the financial criteria. As previously explained by BFA Competitions Manager, Setete Phuthego the criteria is meant to assist and protect clubs so that they remain viable entities. “In the financial aspects clubs should have realistic projections so that a club can on its own see its viability that this season it will be able to recruit this number of players and will also be able to pay the players or employees it brought on board. This is important for clubs so that there is predictability when they start the season,” he highlighted.
“Even when clubs go to CAF assignment the federation expect for those clubs to be able to prove that they will be able to honour their games as and when there are fixtures,” Phuthego further highlighted. There has been instances in the past when some local teams had to withdraw from CAF Confederations Cup because they did not have enough funds to participate in the competitions.
Letshwiti complained that there are lot of teams in the premier league which do not qualify to be playing there. He has since warned that if such teams continue not to run their businesses properly chances are that they will be removed in the next season. He said the ongoing State of Emergency (SoE) period is an opportunity for such teams to address their deficiencies, empohasising that there will be no more compromises. “A lot of our premier league teams are struggling so they must use this period to introspect, go to companies and sell themselves and also go to supporters and explain to them what it means if they don’t professionalise and qualify as far as club licensing is concerned,” Letshwiti advised.