Gaborone - The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is racing against time to avoid being slapped with sanctions by the soccer world governing mother body, FIFA.
As part of efforts to meet some of FIFA’s requirements the BFA National Executive committee and the Botswana Premier League teams’ leadership recently held a seminar geared towards assisting Botswana football towards professionalism and a smooth transformation.
The seminar was facilitated by FIFA consultant Ashford Mamelodi and Derek Blanckensee who is responsible for FIFA and CAF project engineer responsible for Club Licensing.
According to BFA chief executive officer, Mclean Letshwiti, the transformation of the Botswana Premier League into a legal entity, has been seen as the next milestone local football needs to take.
He said FIFA has set a deadline for all confederations to achieve full compliance of the circular. If this deadline is not respected by the confederation, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has the right to sanction the relevant association directly in accordance with the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
Full implementation of both the FIFA and CAF Club Licensing regulations commenced in 2017 in order to ensure transparency and professionalism in football clubs.
“The objectives of club licensing as stipulated in the implementation manual include ensuring that clubs have, appropriate infrastructure, knowledge and application in respect of management and organization; (b) improved sporting infrastructure and improved economic and financial capacity of the clubs, through proper corporate governance and control,” said Letshwiti.
He said the implementation of Club Licensing will be treated as a matter of urgency and implemented soon. He that clubs were lucky because he had been stalling Confederation of African Football (CAF) from coming to inspect local football on Club Licensing.
“Actually you are lucky because of me. I keep stalling CAF to come and do inspection and it is wrong. Do you know that if our clubs do not comply with club licensing requirements, they are not allowed to take part in continental competitions? So by sacrificing club licensing, we are actually sacrificing our clubs,” he said.
For his part, Blanckesee told football authorities that there is need to comply with Club Licensing requirements. He is also said in his view, 16 is an unnecessarily a huge number for the local league. He suggested that the BPL should have not more than 12 team.
The Botswana Premier League and National First Division (NFD) have been experiencing vast challenges in achieving the demands of the Club Licensing for the past three years.
Nonetheless, in order to avoid sanctions by FIFA, the BFA has been compelled to sanction all clubs that fail to comply with the mandatory Club Licensing Regulations as contained in the BFA Club Licensing Manual during this 2019/2020 season. The consequences of teams being non compliant will result in teams being relegated to lower division.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) b believes that it has adequately trained all clubs in the Botswana in Premier League (BPL) on how to achieve full implementation of the Club Licensing requirements of financial, sporting, legal, and administrative and infrastructure in order to comply with the mandatory FIFA Circular No. 1128.