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Clubs suspend player contracts

Having experienced tough financial liquidity in the last five months, a handful of Premier League clubs have reached a decision to suspend the operations of players contracts until such a time when football fully returns to the field.

WeekendSport established that elite clubs feel incapacitated to continue paying players while their coffers are running dry, this is because there is no source of income, either from individual team sponsors or television right grants.

Worse still, even if the game is given the greenlight, spectators are not yet allowed back in the stands for clubs to generate money from gate takings.The clubs that include high paying Township Rollers, Gaborone United, BDF XI, Orapa United, and Jwaneng Galaxy have all agreed with their players that they will instead pay allowances until the situation gets back to normalcy.

Rollers has agreed to give each player P 3.500 as allowance but will also pay rentals on behalf of players. GU, Orapa, Galaxy, and BDF XI have all gone for half salaries and the arrangement has now reached its second month.Rollers monthly wage bill is about P 400 000 and it has never be augmented since COVID- 19 ran amok in March of this year.

The team argues that even their sponsor, Stanbic Bank, bore the brunt of the disease, therefore incapable of living true to the terms and conditions of the contract.Orapa and Galaxys stories are similar. Both are powered by Debswana and when the virus bolted into Botswana football, they decided to offer half salaries.

Their decision to give pay cuts solely rested on the ability of Debswana Diamond Company to soldier on amid the distress brought about by the virus. The company announced that they too have been hit hard as their income has dwindled. The realization meant that Debswana will cut club funding by 30% to remain afloat.Galaxys monthly salary bill is about P 450 000 while that of Orapa is P 375 000.

Albeit both clubs are benefiting from the Debswana sponsors, the figures they receive are not uniformed. Orapa United is getting P 2 million per season while Jwaneng Galaxy sees P3.5 million over the same space in the year.When the 30% cut is implemented, it effectively means Orapa United will get P600 000 per year while Galaxy will receive close to P1 million. Usually, both clubs use the money for purchasing of players with the lions share consumed by settlement fees, commonly referred to as signing on fees.

As early as this week, BDF XI also began negotiations with players to offer allowances until the future of football becomes clear. However, only players who are not working for the BDF army will be affected while those who are soldiers will remain on full pay. The policy has also been adopted by Police XI.Prisons XI, Security Systems, BR Highlanders as well as Morupule Wanderers have gone into allowance strategies to continue surviving amid the coronavirus threat.

However, Football Unions Botswana (FUB) Secretary General, Kgosana Masaseng says his union will try to exert pressure on the football leadership to release COVID-19 funds for the benefit of players. Players are living in a very uncompromising situation, it is tough outside. We understand that quite a number of clubs have suspended the operations of the contract because of lack of income but we will do our best to make sure that players are assisted.

One of the intentions is to negotiate with BFA to see how possible it will be for the FIFA Covid fund to be used to pay players until everything gets back on track, he said.

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