Companies sue BFA
A gentleman’s agreement has landed Botswana Football Association (BFA) at the courts of law after three companies grouped themselves to sue for what they term as ‘unfulfilled promises.’
WeekendSport establishes that the trio of Axis studio, Boipuso De Witt Consulting and Boaba Investments, all with different working portfolios, claim that BFA has ignored and abandoned them after they rendered specified services sometimes in March of 2017. The crux of the matter is that BFA had engaged the three companies to help in the pre- developmental phase before building a football academy.
It is further said that Boaba Investment, who happens to be the third complaint in this case, entered into an oral agreement where they were to involve the services of Architects; Quantity Surveyors, Civil and Mechanical and Electrical Engineers who would provide their services on a risk basis during pre-developmental phase. The agreement meant that there would not be any payment fees.
According to the understanding of this publication, this was solely executed with the knowledge that Architects and Quantity Surveyors would be appointed for the final development phase of the project. With this in mind, all companies involved believed when accepting the contract will become a party to the agreement be entitled to claim from the association.
Furthermore, the companies all agree that by accepting the conditions of the agreement, they were also taking in the fact that they will be considered and appointed in the final development phase of the project. These companies also claim that their services provided on a risk basis were used by the association to secure funding.
“ The association involved Axis Studio as Architects and Boipuso De Wittt as Quantity Surveyors throughout the pre-developmental stages and both companies rendered to the association services that were required,’’ a paper complaint state. It is further argued that in October 2017, as the project was in the final stages of the pre development phase, the BFA had a meeting with its funders, whereupon it was agreed that the companies be considered and appointed for the final development phase.
As a result of this, the companies would later make presentations to the funders, it is claimed. Despite this agreement, the companies are now arguing that BFA failed to appoint them and that is a clear breach. With this failure by the association, the companies argue that they are entitled to payment in full for the services rendered. In July of last year, the three companies engaged BFA and advised them to comply with terms of the agreement.
As the struggle to reach a common ground continued, on August of last year, a meeting was set to resolve the issue and nothing concrete came out. “We were neither remunerated for all the services rendered during the pre-development phase or engaged for the final development phase,” they say. All the three companies demand that BFA pay money amounting to P 4.626.179.01. The amount shall attract an interest of 10 percent annually should BFA continue to pay. Efforts to solicit a comment from BFA’s communication department proved futile as they say there cannot remark on matters already before jurisdiction.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”