As government has started to assist football players with the promised covid-19 relief fund packages some players have been left disappointed as their payments were lesser than what they had expected.
It turns out that the disgruntled players are possibly those who are being paid low salaries by their teams, an issue which other clubs have however disputed. As an effort to cushion the sports fraternity from the devastating effects of covid-19 pandemic government has through the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development pledged to subsidise both premier and first division leagues players for the months of April, May and June. Players from premier league clubs were said to receive a total of P7500.00 each while those from first division clubs were to get a total of P4500.00 each.
As of now the ministry has so far only managed to process payments for players from at least five clubs in the premier league. While Jwaneng Galaxy, Gaborone United and Orapa United players are happy for having received their full amounts each, Notwane and Miscellaneous on the other hand experienced mixed reactions as their players received varying amounts.
Contrary to their expectations Notwane Public Relations Officer, Mogomotsi Orapeleng revealed that only about three of their players received a total full amount of P7500.00 each. The rest he complained that their amount was low and varying with some having received around P3000,P3500, P5200 and others P6000 in total. Miscellaneous General Manager Mpho Outule also shared the same sentiments indicating that only a few of their players got paid the full amount while others were paid different amounts ranging from P4500 to P6000 in total.
Even though he could not confirm it but Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Kago Ramokate said the reason why some players got lesser amounts could be because their monthly salaries are lower than the P2500 relief amount set by government. Ramokate clarified that relief fund was not meant to pop up players’ salaries but was rather intended to assist them receive the same amount they have been getting on monthly basis.
“Because we use what you have been paid yes you will find out that could be the case, if a player’s salary is P2000 it means we are going to pay him that same amount not P2500,” Ramokate told The Patriot Sport.
Reached for comment Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) Secretary General, Kgosana Masaseng also concurred with the Permanent Secretary. He noted that from their engagement with relevant authorities it turned out that players who received less varying amount are those who their salaries are below the set relief fund. “Players who you hear complaining that they did not receive a total of P7500 are the ones whom their salaries are below P2500,” Masaseng stressed confirming that there players in the premier league who are paid even as low as P1000 on a monthly basis.
Disputing the matter, Notwane Spokesperson argued that if the relief fund was released based on salaries majority of their players would have received P7500 noting that over 80% of them are paid a salary of more than P2500. Orapeleng indicated that its only few of their young players in development stage who are getting monthly allowances less than P2500.
“The issue is not clear because you will have a player with a salary of P5000 and find out that he only received a total of P5300 as a relief fund, so we want them to give us justification of such a case,” demanded Orapeleng who expressed discontent about how the whole the subsidy thing went.
For his part Outule acknowledged that majority of their players do earn salaries less than the set relief amount of P2500 which he says could be the reason why they got paid less than P7500. Outule blamed the low salaries on their reduced monthly grant they receive from Botswana Football Association as well as their previous dropped gate takings owing to poor performance by their club consequently failing to pull a crowd to matches. He revealed that the lowest paid player at their club gets around P1200 per month while the highest is paid P5000.
“Our players who received P6000 as the relief fund they normally earn about P2000 on monthly whereas those got around P4500 earn around P1500 per month,” Miscellaneous General Manager admitted.
Both Outule and Orapeleng complain that their understanding of the government relief packages as initially explained by Minister Tumiso Rakgare was that all players will receive a total of P7500 not based on how much they earn on month basis. The duo decry that the new development has inconvenienced their players who had already made some budgets.