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Rollers-Liquorama partnership sparks debate

Premier League Champions Township Rollers’ partnership with liquor trader, Liquorama, is believed to have ignited trouble for the Gaborone west based giants if reports that the Government does not want sports to be seen to be promoting alcohol consumption are anything to go by.

Rollers announced recently that Liquorama came on board as their official liquor partner. According to details of the partnership, Liquorama will offer 5% discount to all Township Rollers FC registered card carrying members of the 2016-17 season.

But according to Township Rollers chief financier, Jagdish Shah, the deal is not meant to promote drunkenness, but rather encourage their supporters countrywide to subscribe to the team’s membership. He explained that it should not be seen that Liquorama is sponsoring his team.

 “This is not a sponsorship where Liquorama is looking for some mileage or anything along those lines, but this is a union where  the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Liquorama having attended our launch, felt that he could help fast track the idea of club membership so that the team ultimately sustains itself,’’ he observed.

Rollers’ fan membership goes for P100, Gold membership goes for P250 and platinum membership is P 2.500.

Liquorama has admitted to be working with the popular club and a correspondence seen by this publication reads thus, ‘‘this is to confirm that Liquorama will be offering 5% discount to all Township Rollers registered members for the season 2016-17 at all Liqourama stores nationwide. Further we confirm that the above discount will be available only on Liquorama products not on special at the time of purchase.’’

Those in opposition of the partnership have denounced it lamenting that Rollers will be directly promoting alcohol through the discount to supporters.

Botswana Football Association Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kitso Kemoeng said he is still familiarising himself with the liquor document and it will be not fit for him to make a comment as yet. ‘‘I have just received a liquor document in sport from the premier league acting Chief Executive Officer Thabo Ntshinogang, it is a 9 paged report and  I have to read to understand before I can make a comment,’’ he said.

The Botswana Government does not condone alcohol being associated with sport in any way. The next edition of COSAFA cup would be hosted in the country, had it not been for it being sponsored by an alcohol company. COSAFA was keen on having the Botswana Football Association (BFA) organise next year’s event. But BNSC chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng was quoted sometime in June saying that ‘‘sport cannot be sponsored through any alcohol brand’’. Reikeletseng stressed that there is no way they could be seen promoting alcohol through sport.

He further noted that it was not possible for the COSAFA Cup to come to Botswana as long as an alcohol brand is the sponsor.

“We do not want to be associated with alcohol. Our rules are clear that alcohol cannot sponsor sport in Botswana.”

However the alcohol policy document seen by this publication appears to be somehow silent on the issue when it comes to sport. The policy makes one mention of the issue on article .13.8, ‘‘Alcohol beverage industry is one of the major contributors to the economy of Botswana through revenues and employment. The marketing techniques used by the alcohol beverage industry are many fold. In addition to sponsoring cultural and social events, and sports, they also use other innovative marketing techniques. However, the above stated contributions may be outweighed by the social and health impact due to alcohol abuse.’’

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

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.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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