Our Botswana Premier League (BPL) needs a thorough mop up. That should start with a forensic audit! Recent reports of maladministration, which involved use of league financial resources for self gain, warrant this approach. It will otherwise be foolhardy to assume that those whose names have been mentioned are the only ones who abused their positions.
As things stand and regrettably so, anybody who has worked with the league remains a suspect! Only a thorough investigation will clear those that are innocent and those that are not. It is shocking that those assigned to run the league and safeguard the brand are now culprits in bringing it into disrepute. If indeed it is true that officials have been on a borrowing spree at the BPL offices, then the critical question of the nature of financial controls in place becomes pertinent.
What, if any, controls are there? For a league that is so much struggling with teams barely having enough resources to survive on it is most worrying there appears to have been very little done to safeguard the small money they come by.
I suspect that there is more to the money trail; it is not only those that have been singled out that have been living well and large at the expense of the teams. It is for this reason that I urgently call for a forensic audit. This should be able to bring out all the rot and shame all culprits! Unless this is done, this will undermine the league’s ability to retain current sponsors and attract new ones.
What one will also be expecting is that clubs that elected these people to eventually serve at BPL should demand answers and accountability. The biggest worry would be the extent to which the very clubs finances are save under these leaders. The moral ground of continuing to be taken as leaders of value has suffered a major dent. How can they continue to be trusted? I doubt if there is any reason to. As a brand the BPL must rise to the occasion to defend itself.
If the matter has been referred to the Botswana Football Association (BFA), then a quick response and action would do. This is because the league is continuing and financial resources continue to be channeled to it. New financial control systems must be put in place.
This should be done immediately! Perhaps more signatories should be added to current ones to increase an oversight role. It is always going to be difficult to trust elected representatives who might be excessive in dealing with funds. For a league that claims to be moving towards professionalism a lot is expected. The composition of its management committee ought to be reviewed and its powers and operation limits.
This power belongs to the clubs that elect these people in the first instance. The simple call is this – teams must quickly professionalise and do that quickly. Once they are owned and run as businesses, the value of keeping their resources tight and having appropriate personnel represent their teams at senior forums would be key. It will be club owners that will take over the management role of the league. I doubt that owners of clubs would compromise the very league that serves them.
On the current developments I am convinced only an audit shall help. The paper trail will reveal the money trail and show us how many houses in town or elsewhere have been built from the loans taken from the league’s coffers. Some might even be running state-of-the art farms from these proceeds. The league must wake up to the current challenges and seriously clean up its act. Otherwise there will be little to celebrate about it being ‘premier’. It will mean being ‘premier’ in maladministration. And this cannot be a source of pride!