In an unexpected turn of events, League sponsors, Botswana Telecommunications Limited(BTCL) have made a turnabout, and are considering releasing prize money, individual awards and trophies directly to the 2015-16 winners before the new football season commences, WeekendSport has been informed.
After threatening to cut off the sponsorship, accusing their partners, Botswana Football Association (BFA) of breach of contract, the local telecommunications giant, trading as be MOBILE, appear to have entertained a second and more sober thought.
According to those close to the developments, BTCL is engaged in a series of boardroom meetings to honour their contract obligation in releasing the prize money after the same was put on hold owing to the unending premier league brawls that consequently intimidated the stability and competence of elite league in this country. Prior to the BFA general elections, there was no clear-cut winners as two rivals, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers were in logger heads over the registration authenticity of Zebras hard tackling midfielder, Ofentse Nato-a player on the books of Rollers by the close of last season.
According to sources, the company is willing to start on a clean slate since there is a new crop at BFA. Sources added that be-MOBILE draws courage from one progressive factor- BFA in conjunction with Township Rollers agreed to unconditionally withdraw the football case concerning Nato at the Court of Arbitration for Sports under FIFA, the world football governing body. Rollers had written in requesting for guidance as the ensuing battle threatened to get ugly.
However, at the time of going to print, it was not clear as to how the individual prizes are to be administered more so that the winners are yet to be named in the absence of the prize giving ceremony. Word from other angles however suggest that BTCL has confirmed that both Rollers and Chiefs prize money will be currently on freeze while the rest of the premier league teams will receive theirs. According to be-MOBILE listing sheet, the champions are entitled to P1 million, while runners up get P500 000. The team on the third position is to receive P450 000.
When asked for clarity, Head of Sponsorships and Consumer Public Relations at BTCL, Tiro Kganela said, indeed the prize money will be released in the near future, but a careful consideration is still employed to carry out a good job.
‘‘Yes that will happen soon, so many factors are still internal and I am not going to discuss them with you until we finalise everything,’’ he said.
BTCL had given BFA up to the end of June to correct the anomalies in disregarding contractual obligations.
To demonstrate their frustrations, the league sponsor cited an example on the last day of the season, in which beMOBILE was instructed to crown Mochudi Centre Chiefs champions. This, beMOBILE did and indeed proceeded to hand over the trophy to Mochudi Centre Chiefs only to be later advised that the log had been suspended and that no decision had been made on the championship pending the ruling by the premier league’s disciplinary committee. This according to the sponsor, caused embarrassment and tarnished the sponsor’s brand and reputation.
“It is BTCL’s considered view that BFA has committed an act amounting to default or misconduct as stipulated by clause 8.2.1 of the Agreement and as a result the business name and/or reputation of BTCL has been affected negatively,” BTCL pointed out.
However, BTCL have seen it fit to honour the disbursements of undisputed individuals and teams’ awards prize money. They are said to be waiting for official written confirmation from BFA of the 2015-16 season Title winners and individual prize winners as per clause 1 of “Annexure A” of the Agreement.
BTCL were rubbed the wrong way by the messy developments and distanced themselves from participating in the Trophy handing over and medal awards ceremony during the deciding play-offs match between Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, which sadly never took place.
The telecommunication company took the path to “protect its brand and avoid suffering further reputational damage,” they said at the time.
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.