BFA revises constitution – again
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is on yet another constitution review drive, WeekendSport has learnt. At the beginning of this year, particularly during the second week of January, the association had assembled in its boardroom three lawyers, seeking their advice and expertise on which tweaks should be made and where on its constitution.
Ironically, the constitution was reported to have gone under scrutiny in 2015, just a few months before the BFA went for its elections. According to reports, there are two arising issues that have now sent the association down the path of self-revival, as the issue of constitution amendment lingers inside their boardrooms.
The drafters of the idea believe that the constitution of BFA is not a static paper and, by all accounts, has to be changed to align it with the new times. Insiders also believe that the constitutional change that was touted to have been made almost three years ago was just a false alarm, and nothing noticeable has been done.
BFA advisers are reported to have engaged high ranking BFA members to consider moving administrative issues to the laps of the statutory bodies for purposes of immediate and definitive penalties, if any. More often than not, the association finds itself relying heavily on the guidance of the FIFA constitution because the BFA guiding document is seen to have many loop holes.
This also encouraged the advisers to sell an idea that is however not new within the files of the association– to consider aligning their constitution with that of FIFA, the world football governing body. In September 25 2014, FIFA forwarded a communiqué to the local mother body with the issue of constituency tournaments at the top of the agenda. The association that was then led by flamboyant lawyer Tebogo Sebego had until March 16 2015 to ratify their statutes to be in line with those of FIFA. Part of the letter from FIFA read, “The association’s committee decided that the BFA must also ratify statutes in accordance with the FIFA standard statutes as required under Article 13 paragraph 1, before 16 March 2015”.
The association is expected to brief its regions regarding the looming intentions and changes probably before the congress, slated for July. The current reviewed BFA constitution came into effect in early 2002 and many members who were once associated with the past president are reportedly its masterminds.
As before, those who push for constitutional amendment also want the assembly to reconsider implementing a non-confrontational strategy with the aim of attaining a win-win outcome to engage government with respect to the constituency tournaments. The argument on the ground is that the association’s constitution is rather silent on such issues and the government is not strategically lured to them in utilising money wisely. They argue that “a substantial amount of resources are being channeled to sport through constituency tournaments but main-line football has not benefited from these resources.
With yet another matter, the advisors seek to raise the voice of women in football. It is argued that article 18.8 should be amended and the current text be moved to article 12.1.4. This, in their own view will mean that article 18.8 will be complemented. The article in question in the current BFA constitution talks of Women Football committee, its establishment, composition and responsibility, while article 12.1.4 says “women in football shall comprise of women’s teams playing football in such areas and/or zones sections as the NEC may determine from time to time.”
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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.”