Botswana Premier League (BPL) board of governors have unanimously condemn Botswana Telecommunication Cooperation (BTC)’s latest decision to chop down sponsorship money, a development which they say was not in the interest of football.
BTC are the title sponsors of the Botswana elite league and have in 2017 agreed on P39 million deal for a period of three years. At most, the BPL board demands that the football association engage their partners to renegotiate new terms of sponsorship. BPL board met on Monday of this week to deliberate on numerous matters tormenting the domestic game. Sources speaking with this publication state that the board was visibly irked by BTC’s stance and argued that the move cannot be accepted particularly at a time when clubs are struggling to make two ends meet.
BTC, although not proudly maintaining it, is said to have cut down sponsorship monies from P10 million to P5 million per season. The local network giants are of the view that the current sponsorship deal does not bring value for their money, a realisation that compelled them to entertain a second thought.
On the other hand, the clubs believe that the annual grants that come with this sponsorship fall short to assist in their daily administration and as such the reduction will even make matter worse. According to the initial agreement, clubs were getting P35 000 as mobilization grants over a period of eight months. Early on February, BTC had drawn the BFA/BPL to clause 5.1 of the Agreement, in which the BFA undertook to operate the Premier League in accordance with renowned international best practices.
BTC is said to be deeply concerned by the constant negative publicity incurred by BPL and its structures regarding the mother body’s management of football. It is said the recent developments have damaged the reputation of the BTC brand as the main sponsor of the BTC Premiership. Information further states that the board is calling for renegotiation more because their partnership with BTC is a ‘closed one.’ The board believes there could be a room for co-sponsorship only if BTC terms were permitting.
The board claim to be struggling while sponsors are determined to partner with the league. Before chopping down the finances, BTC had raised three issues they feel BFA and BPL have seriously neglected. BTC says it is grossly offended by the issue of e -ticketing. It is said that there is an agreement to the effect that the sponsors will get 5 pula for each ticket sold by premier league clubs. Recently, the clubs have to not been using the system and this has obviously harmed BTC’s supposedly income. Moreover, the sponsors had wanted to see their logo appearing on the match day tickets.
The second matter raised by the sponsors is of television rights. BTC is annoyed that BFA is dangerously trampling upon the terms and conditions of the contract. BTC clearly states that they agreed with BFA that a total of 60 games will be televised in a season, but to this date, this has not been happening. It is speculated, however, that only one third of the games have been televised.
The broadcasting issue comes afar. BFA has over the years cried foul that Btv lacks capacity to satisfy their partners’ demands and often times, they finds themselves negotiating with their hands tied back as there is only one television station in the country. BTC has further complained that agreements reached concerning the BTC charity cup have not been reached to this far end.
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With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.