Wednesday, 05 September 2018 14:26

BPL grabs affiliates by the balls

FOOTBALL
The Botswana Premier League this week announced a new partnership with Mitre as its official match ball sponsor. This announcement shocked some BPL clubs who feel the announcement comes after they have already procured balls from different brands.

A document leaked to BG Sport this week indicates that BPL affiliates will be using Mitre match ball for all their competitions. “Because of this, we would like to advise all the clubs not to use any brand in our competitions. Our match officials will bring Mitre balls to all our official matches,” BPL Chief Executive Officer Thabo Ntshinogang said through the leaked document. “The ball we will be using this season is the Mitre Delta FIFA Pro.”

Ntshinogang further explains that the Mitre Delta Pro is widely used especially in the EFL, the largest single body of professional clubs in European football-including EFL, EFL Cup and Check trade Trophy. The BPL boss further explained that the Mitre brand has been used by the EFL for over 40 years. “In 2017 Mitre were unveiled as the football partners of the Football Federation Australia Cup. Mitre is also used in all CAF competitions for the next seven years.”

Through the statement, Ntshinogang further explains: “I would therefore like to remind clubs not to use any other brand at our games other than Mitre.”  He said the BPL has since negotiated a deal for the teams to purchase the Mitre balls for P800 each, should they require to do so. Meanwhile, sources  from  some BPL affiliates  teams  have  expressed  their  misgivings  over the  recent  announcement.

“How do you seal a deal like this? Clubs are expected to purchase balls for P800.00. That is too much. The average cost of a football unit is P500. And most of the teams need close to 30 balls.” The source further explained that his team has already purchased over 20 balls as the league has already started. “They are making the announcement late into the season. We have not even received our team grants.”

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 10:17

Club licensing haunts BPL

The Botswana Premier League (BPL) may be forced to delay the start of the league to allow affiliate clubs to formerly comply with FIFA and CAF licensing regulations. A grace period for clubs that may appeal the First Instance Body (FIB) recommendations may   also be increased. 

The BPL   continues to face club-licensing dilemma as pressure   mounts from   both   CAF and FIFA   over compliance. An FIB report   leaked to BG Sport this week has revealed    how   local clubs are    struggling with   this taxing and demanding   process.  According to the report, key areas to overcome in club licensing include   consultation with stadium owners, fully furnished offices, contracts with secretariat and information relating to office bearers or owners.

 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) issued a circular no. 1128 in 2007 called FIFA club licensing regulations. The resolution was passed at the May 2007 congress intended to implement club licensing universally among members. BFA failed to effect the club licensing system since 2013 to date. The club-licensing manual was introduced by BFA as a plan to comply with the FIFA circular no. 1128. The newly introduced monitoring and evaluation instrument may force the league to commence with fewer clubs if any member fails to comply. 

The licensing has been introduced to the national associations around the globe by FIFA and communicated through continental bodies as a ploy to curb maladministration, mismanagement and amateurism in some elite leagues. The local association failed to cascade the FIFA vision to make it realistic and achievable, some choosing to go the way local clubs are going about it. 

Club licensing objectives as stated on the manual include ensuring that clubs have adequate levels of management and organisational administration and improve the economic and financial capability of clubs increased transparency and credibility. Clubs are expected to have signed contracts with their secretariat including medical doctors, general manager, finance manager, sporting arena and infrastructure. It is interesting to note that a number of clubs official documents from clubs in this regard do not satisfy the FIB. The confidential FIB report points on evaluation of files on club licensing indicate that clubs submitted documents without supporting documents. BG recently reported that a number of clubs signed deals with a number of skilled personnel for the sake of compliance.    

The club licensing rules guide that all players are subject to medical tests before they could sign contracts with clubs. BG investigations have uncovered that clubs failed to exercise transparency and openness in player movements. BPL clubs failed to communicate lists of their transfer-listed players, new acquisition and those promoted from junior ranks if there are any. The local transfer window is known for quietness and its dullness over the years due to unprofessional and dubious ways of negotiating parties. 

The local clubs had, in the past three transfer windows, complained of the delay in issuing foreign players with relevant work documents by the ministry of nationality, immigration and gender affairs. The ministry has set new standards for awarding permits to foreigners across all sectors, which include  qualification and criminal records. BG Sport is reliably informed that BFA is yet to make a case to guide the ministry on requirements of work permit for footballers.

Article 3.3.3 of the club licensing manual states that, “only clubs which fulfil the criteria set out in this manual, at the deadline defined by the BFA, maybe granted a license to enter the domestic club competitions of the coming season.” The continental football authority is clear that there would be no mercy for clubs participating in CAF competitions. BTC premiership giants Township Rollers and Orapa United received a waiver from the appeals board after the FIB declined their applications and subsequently made it to CAF competitions. The 2016/17 league and cup Winners Township Rollers and Jwaneng Galaxy will have to pass the test to compete at the continental competitions.

FIB Chairman Mfolo Mfolo confirmed to BG Sport that they have completed the assessment of club files and communicated findings with all the 16 clubs. The adjudication process will follow after clubs rectify or correct their files. “No club satisfied the requirements, but most of them did try. A number of club performed poorly on sporting category which speaks to youth development structures and the finances,” explained FIB chairman. The aggrieved clubs will be given some time to appeal FIB ruling after adjudication process. 

Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) Secretary General Kgosana Masaseng revealed that in the past clubs used to submit false medical reports ahead of the new season. The bargaining body for professional players welcome club-licensing development as a step in the right direction. FUB believes licensing will somehow improve welfare of the players.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 12 July 2016 16:25

BPL fights back

An impromptu Botswana Premier League (BPL) board meeting was expected to convene on Thursday afternoon(Today) at Lekidi in a desperate bid to block the imminent return of the organisation’s suspended Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi.

These developments came barely a week after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) failed to give the subordinate BPL, permission to file responding affidavits against Mamelodi at the Gaborone Industrial court. According to sources close to the matter, the BPL board felt betrayed and hard done by their superiors in the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC). This is especially true for those within the BPL board who are doing all in their power to get rid of Mamelodi.

This week, BG Sport sources said BPL board members have since put pressure on the organisation’s interim chairman Rapula Okaile to call an urgent meeting and address events surrounding Mamelodi’s case. This week, a BPL board member who spoke to BG Sport on condition of anonymity said they will do whatever it takes to counter Mamelodi’s return to Lekidi.

“He cannot come back, we are going to apply for an urgent application with the court. We believe we have a legal standing to defend ourselves. If we do not have the legal standing, it means Mamelodi’s contract with us does not exist,” he said. Lately, reliable sources have told BG Sport that a legal representative from a South African law firm has already been identified to represent the BPL in their urgent application. Okaile on Wednesday confirmed the emergency BPL meeting. However, the reluctant chairman maintained that the purpose of the meeting is not only about Mamelodi but to shed light on various issues recently addressed by the NEC. “Amongst these issues is the Mamelodi case,” Okaile said. Mamelodi had earlier dragged his employers before the court challenging the legality of his suspension after the BPL accused him of maladministration.

After a court hearing last month, it later appeared that the BPL had filed inadequate documents. Consequently, this meant that the BPL did not have legal standing to face Mamelodi in court unless the BFA NEC gave them power of attorney. The Industrial Court later advised the BPL to file fresh and truthful documents to properly argue their case. The BPL was given until this week Tuesday to file their new heads of argument but this did not happen. This meant the court would ultimately deliver a default judgment. In other matters, the BPL board is expected to deliberate on the disbursement of BPL prize monies to teams. BG Sport understand that BPL had asked the NEC to allow them to ask BTCL to disburse prize monies to all teams which are not affected by the current saga that affects Mochudi Center Chiefs and Township Rollers.

At the same seating the board is expected to endorse Okaile who has been BPL interim chairman since the departure of former Chairman Walter Kgabung and former vice chairman Solomon Mantswe. It remains to be seen how the BPL's urgent application will unfold and whether they will convince the court that they have the power of attorney. As things stand the BFA constitution does not recognize BPL as a structure or entity that has power to sue without the blessing of the NEC.

Published in Sports
Monday, 18 April 2016 11:52

Reinstate Mamelodi or square up in court

Beleaguered Chief Executive of Botswana Premier League (BPL) Bennett Mamelodi has moved swiftly to turn the tables on the paralysed football administration by demanding his immediate reinstatement, failing which he would seek legal recourse.

BG Sport learns that Mamelodi who has been suspended alongside his personal assistant Mogolo Sekgwa, has instructed law-firm Monthe, Marumo and Company to act on his behalf By Wednesday, Attorney Dutch Leburu had reportedly sent a letter of demand to BFA headquarters demanding that Mamelodi be reinstated within three hours of receipt of the letter or face the music.

The attorney says Mamelodi must be reinstated immediately because he was unlawfully suspended by a wrong body - the Botswana Premier League (BPL) Board - which is not his employer. Instead, he says Mamelodi was employed by the BFA.
The lawsuit was expected to be filed with court anytime from Wednesday this week. Mamelodi’s action is not without a precedent.

Years back, then acting CEO of BFA Tariq Babitseng was instructed by BFA NEC to write a letter of suspension to the then BPL General Manager Setete Phuthego so as to pave way for a forensic audit at his office.

BFA CEO Kitso Kemoeng, who also doubles as acting CEO of BPL, confirmed the latest developments in the BPL saga. “ I can confirm that Monthe Marumo and Company, who are Mamelodi’s attorneys of record have written to the BFA demanding his reinstatement or they will seek redress in a court of law,” he said.

BG Sport learns that Mamelodi’s suspension has rendered the activities of BPL moribund save for the league which is running under the guidance of the BFA leadership.

It said that the BFA parts with at least P20 000 to pay for match officials’ transport and the amount might rise this coming week because while in office, Mamelodi had an arrangement with a car rental (name withheld) to transport match officials and be paid periodically or monthly. It is said the car rental company does not wish to continue with the service unless some of the money owed to them has been paid. Unfortunately for the BFA, BPL bank accounts remain frozen and the CEO’s office cannot be accessed.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 12:28

BPL offers Mamelodi contract extension to 2017

Botswana Premier League board this week offered their CEO Bennett Mamelodi a contract extension of two more years. BG Sport can safely reveal that the decision was made this Wednesday at a meeting of the board members held at the Grand Palm Hotel. 

Mamelodi currently has a running contract that is set to expire in November and the board members had to make a decision in time to allow the CEO time to think about his future. The contract has been a subject of discussion for the better part of this year with uncertainty hovering on Mamelodi’s future as the board was divided on his further engagement.

This publication can further reveal that it will be an improved contract that will see the CEO earn a basic monthly salary in the region of P50K plus other incentives that include gratuity and a house allowance amongst peripheral benefits. Mamelodi was initially brought in to the league by the then BPL chairman Mokganedi Molefhe with the mandate to bring in sponsors for the league. He played a major role in the romping in of sponsors such as beMOBILE in the era of Setete Phuthego who led the league as General Manager, and also presided over the bringing in of Mascom as Top 8 sponsors. In addition, the CEO helped strike some strategic partnership deals with the likes of Grand Palm and mobile giants Huawei.

Despite this, there had been some unsatisfied elements within the football fraternity who felt that Mamelodi had done nothing to warrant any further offer of a contract. Names were even bandied around as suggestions of who could take over.  But BPL chairman Walter Kgabung denied that there were ever doubts over the abilities of Mamelodi, saying he and his board members have always believed in their man, hence the new and improved package for him. This he said on the backdrop of some sentiments that the BPL could have advertised the position so as to attract fresh talent. Some pundits have even averred that the BPL was acting under pressure because of uncertainties surrounding his continued stay as some South African sport entities were beginning to inquire about his availability with the view of pricing him away.  But Kgabung reiterated that they acted under no pressure but out of the belief that Mamelodi still has a lot to offer to the league.

“We believe in the incumbent, and we have no doubt he is the right man for the job at hand,”  Kgabung told BG Sport. Earlier this week, the BPL  sent out invitations for a Thursday press conference where they were expected to make an announcement on the status of the CEO and his contract. The chairman however added that the league still needs more money to be pumped into the league, an assignment that once again will fall on the lap of Mamelodi should he accept the new contract. “The running of the league needs to be improved and we want it to be a safe place for everyone who wants to attend games. We need to work on avoiding congestions at the gates,” Kgabung added. At the time of going to press on Wednesday evening, Mamelodi told BG Sport that he was in the dark about any new contract. “It’s news to me. I am not aware of the new contract because no such information has reached me. All I can say is that I have a running contract that ends in November. I came here purely to grow football in Botswana and lead Botswana football towards professionalism, and  I can only stay as long as I am needed,” he told BG Sport.

Published in Sports

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