- Retreat called to address perennial financial problems of elite clubs and players’ welfare
A restructuring exercise is looming at the Botswana Premier League (BPL) where 16 chairmen and the league secretariat will go into a retreat to untangle the riddle of teams living beyond their means, Global Sport has learnt.
BPL chairman Rapula Okaile told this publication this week: “We will look at the minimum and maximum wages at each team so that there is no huge disparity between clubs and players. There should be a pay structure that is pragmatic and affordable for teams.”
This, together with a well-prepared budget for teams per season, should be a remedy, especially for elite teams where the problem of financial troubles is more prevalent. “To avoid clashing with their employees and failing to sustain their operations, teams should be clear about their sources of money and their expenditure,” Okaile said.
It remains unclear, however, as to how much will be the minimum and the maximum levels for each team. “Let’s not go there yet,” the BPL chair said. “Let’s wait for other stakeholders and the meeting. That’s when we will let you know.”
Okaile repeated the usual reprise of the need for teams to avoid relying on sponsors because that is not sustainable. A part of the reason local football, specifically the premier league, is no longer interesting is that teams live beyond their means. “The reason players keep on striking is that they are promised salaries that their teams cannot afford,” Okaile said.
“At the end of the day, this affects the quality of the product we are trying to sell. Remember we are not only chairmen of clubs but we also run the league.”
Contacted for comment, the chief executive of BPL, Thabo Ntshinogang, proved reluctant to shed more light on the issue of levels. “I can’t reveal anything for now,” Ntshinogang said. “We will look at the expenditure of our clubs and see how we can align that to their expenses.”
Premier league teams’ sources of revenue are grants of P50, 000 from BPL, gate takings, proceeds from selling merchandise and endorsements. From time immemorial, the teams have clashed with their employees over several contractual issues, especially salaries and signing-on fees.
Gilport Lions has gone to the extent of losing 16 players, thanks to unpaid salaries.