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P150m sport proposal rejected

The P150 million budget proposal of the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) was slashed almost by half. This explains why premier league football players got an equivalent share with artists/musicians when the youth and sport relief fund was established, WeekendSport has learnt.

It is said the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) argued that the proposal was too much to approve but eventually settled for P70m to cater for sports persons, artists and other activities related to culture.

Sources say the Sport Ministrys budget proposal ballooned because Minister Tumiso Rakgare had argued that football players should receive at least P5000 for the months of April, May and June. The Minister stood on the ground that players careers are often very short and need to be rewarded handsomely while time allows.

His views were that an artist can still perform and make a living at an average age of 30 years, but a football player, the mentioned age is when a player stares at the sunset of his career.

But in the end the Ministry of Finance settled for P70million as the overall budget whereupon players were to receive P2, 500 for the coming three months. While the youthful minister could not adequately convince the likes of Minister Matsheka, he was mindful of players welfare in a country that still pays little attention to sports in general, sources said.

Amidst the lockdown, many football players were reported to have fallen into despair and worry as they thought their football careers had come to an abrupt end.

Between March 22 and April 14, the Fdration Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels better known as International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO) and affiliated national player associations surveyed 1,602 professional footballers in countries that had implemented drastic measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus such as mass home-confinement. 1,134 male players, with a mean age of 26, and 468 female players, with a mean age of 23, took part in the survey.

The percentage of players reporting symptoms was significantly higher among those worried about their future in the football industry, the survey found. In a separate survey of 307 players, with a similar mean age, in December and January – before most football competitions were suspended – 11 percent of the female players and six percent of the male players reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of depression.

Players were surveyed in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States.

More than 75 percent of players surveyed reported that they had access to sufficient resources and support for their mental health. Most player associations in the 16 countries surveyed provide mental health support for players such as a helpline and access to trained counsellors.

In Botswana, it has come to the fore that 48 percent of footballers have developed anxiety since the league was stopped mid-March. The study reports that this percentage alone has moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms.

Moreover, the study reveals that during the COVID-19 period of (semi-)lockdown, 39 percent of the professional footballers in Botswana reported moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms.

According to the study, this is much higher than in professional footballers during regular period of time (i.e., not COVID-19 period): 7-11 percent reported moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms. It is also higher than in the general population during the regular period of time (i.e., not COVID-19 period): 3-8 percent reported moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms.

All the while, it is widely believed that the sport relief fund has aided players whose clubs were not able to meet monthly wages because of COVID- 19. In the premier league alone, only 5 clubs are able to pay players without breaking a sweat.

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Mason Greenwood attempted rape charges dropped

2nd February 2023

Charges of attempted rape and assault have been dropped against Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood who was arrested in January 2022 after the allegations emerged.

The 21-year-old was arrested in January last year amid allegations surrounding images and videos that emerged online.

He was later charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the charges were discontinued after a key witness withdrew their involvement.

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Raphael Varane announces retirement from international football after 10 years of service.

2nd February 2023

The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina

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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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