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Clubs wail as stipends are delayed

Only Gaborone United (GU), from the elite league, has benefited simply because they have qualified their accounts to the ministry.

Premier League clubs patience is finally wearing thin as the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture Development delays the payment of the promised subventions. The Ministry undertook to assist football clubs to make ends meet as corona virus locked down sporting activities.

This publication gathers that the clubs are however forced to wait longer than expected as the Ministry further assesses the situation.

In May, the Ministry of Sport made a reverberating assurance that it will assist clubs bearing in mind the direct impact of COVID- 19 within the local sport. The Tumiso Rakgare led ministry ascertain clubs that they are ready to pay each player P 2.500 for the months of April, May and June.

This kind of assistance /promise was also extended to players plying their trade in the First division league, a stream of clubs just one step below the elite league. There, players are anticipated to receive P 1.500 each for the same period of three months.

However, clubs have begun to show impatience and their temperament towards the Sport Ministry is beginning to shift. Clubs believe what the ministry wants is difficult to prove and will take ages to process for them to qualify for the subventions.

Various club chairpersons refused to comment citing the just released memo that bars them from talking with the media.

It is, all the while, noted that only Gaborone United (GU), from the elite league, has benefited simply because they have qualified their accounts to the ministry. It is also well-known that clubs like BDF XI, Police XI and Prisons XI will not profit from the ministry subvention because they are already aided by the government.

In an earlier interview, Rakgare said clubs should exercise patience and wait for the right time. He said that government transactions are often times slow to be processed but surely it will be done.

Let me urge the clubs to be patient, government protocols always take some time to be finalized, but for sure, the government keeps its promises even up to now, he assured.

Some clubs say the sport sector form is difficult to complete. Others say the Ministry has returned them to finalize the paper documents and by the look of things what they want is not easy to give out.

The Ministry needs players/teams to provide proof of wage bill income before the arrival of COVID -19. They also want proof of signed player contracts from clubs. Furthermore clubs are expected to forward proof of compliance with the registrar of societies. Teams are also expected to provide copies of staff payroll for the months of January, February and March.

Moreover, the Ministry wants affidavits indicating that no other relief assistance has been received by clubs. It is why clubs like Township Rollers and Security Systems will not have a dime from the Sport Ministry account because they have applied for the separate BURS subsidy.

A total of 25 players are expected to benefit from each team. For one team, the government is expected to assist with P62.500 per month.

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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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