Gaborone -The Botswana Premier League (BPL) has painted a gloomy picture of the Botswana Telecommunications Communications (BTC) premiership over prize money.
Reports show that at the beginning of the season, title sponsor, BTC, slashed its season’s allocation from P13 million to P5 million, citing failure to meet contractual obligations on the part of the BPL.
As a result, the Monitor newspaper reported, clubs were informed that there would be no prize money after the BFA failed to find sufficient funds to plug the deficit.
Absa Botswana (Barclays) came on board with a P7.5 million sponsorship over two years, but that was not enough to cover the shortfall.
While the matter had appeared to “die down”, the BPL stoked flames by issuing a status update of the BTC premiership, the paper reported.
In the statement, the BPL said as it stands, clubs would not receive any cash for their efforts. The BPL stated that the league had paused for the festive holidays.
The BPL stated that due to the financial challenges, there was no prize money at the end of the season. The BPL stated that the clubs were aware of this situation and that it was still pursuing different avenues to source funds. Should the initiatives bear fruit, the association will reconsider this position, it added.
On other relevant issues, BPL stated during the first half, the league continued to experience low turnout at the stadia. This challenge has been persisting for a while requiring great attention. To address this issue, the league devised a strategy to lure supporters.
“At the time of recess, almost all the clubs were half way through having played 15 games. Jwaneng Galaxy FC and Township Rollers FC were on 14 games and Tafic SC on 13 games. Tafic is on 13 games owing to the abandoned game at the Obed Itani Chilume stadium against Jwaneng Galaxy on the 27th November 2019 and Township Rollers FC at Royal Aria on the 18/12/2019,” the BPL said.
It went on to say that the strategy was implemented towards the end of the year with press conferences being held for “Category A” games.
“The league will continue to conduct activations across the country in order to bolster match attendance. Teams must also aggressively market their games to entice spectators to attend games,” the BPL said.
The league secretariat said fixturing also was a challenge due to the non-availability of facilities.
“This problem caused a number of fixtures to be changed and others to be called off. The game between Township Rollers and Tafic SC was abandoned due to an electricity fault that occurred in the area of Tlokweng village on the outskirts of Gaborone,” said the league secretariat.
But the statement by the premier league has not gone down well with the BFA. Replying to the statement, BFA said that it did not initiate, authored, authorized or sanctioned the contents of the statement.
It said while the statement was released though the official BPL Help Desk, the association would conduct thorough investigations to establish whether the BPL website had been compromised, hacked or administration rights were violated in order to ensure that all stakeholders receive authentic and non-erroneous or conflicting information.
“The BFA, therefore, would like to inform all stakeholders that the statement is not an official communication of the association and should, therefore, be perceived with the contempt it deserves,” the association said.
BFA also “unreservedly disassociate itself not only from the author but the contents of the statement”.
But BPL chairperson Seiphetlho Sefhako was quoted as saying that indeed the statement originated from their office.
“It is a report from our office on the status of the status of the league as of today,” he said.