Clubs accuse BPL of negligence

Tlotlo Kebinakgabo

Local clubs have accused the Botswana Premier League (BPL) for abandoning them as they get minimal support from the mother body.

Speaking on behalf of premier league clubs chairmen, Township Rollers president, Jagdish Shah, said the BPL does not respect their efforts and has no responsibility to them. This follows the BPL clubs chairmen benchmarking visit to the South African premier league (Premier Soccer League) offices.

Shah said they have learnt that the relationship the PSL has with their clubs is a solid one, dubbing it the father-son relationship. “Here in Botswana we feel like orphans to BPL as it has no responsibility to us. It does not respect our efforts and it has a long way to go to achieve that relationship.”

Shah went on to say the BPL has to learn to recognize the club sponsors. “As much as they have sponsors, clubs also have sponsors. Those sponsors generate income for clubs and they need to be recognized. The reason why some local clubs don’t have sponsors is because they are not given the recognition they are looking for by the BPL.

”The BPL must also recognize players as their assets, that’s in terms of insurance as that is what is done at the PSL. The players are not only seen as club members but are recognized as assets to the league and they are not only insured against death but also for injuries.”

One other issue that Shah said is of concern to local clubs is that of ticketing. ”There (South Africa) it is the responsibility of the clubs; it has nothing to do with the PSL. Here in Botswana we are suffering. One day the tickets are administered by the BPL, the other day it has been given to some authority. We also suffer when it comes to getting the tickets returns and in some instances we struggle to get money from games played over a month back. Now tell me, how are clubs going to survive as some sorely survive on money from gate takings?” he wondered.

BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stiles Ntshinogang said they have learnt a lot from their visit at the PSL and they are ready to implement some things. “It is not by default that we benchmarked with the PSL as they are the best in Africa. We have learnt that they do most of the things like us but they are probably better as they are more resourced financially and infrastructure wise. Their relationship with other stakeholders is also well defined,” he said.

He said if they are to improve the league (BPL) then they will have to make sure that the compliance manual has to be implemented as that would improve the brand of the BPL. “One other thing that can be done is to create the executive committee which can look at strategic issues of the league. Clubs should also be given full responsibility to organize their own league matches but complying with manuals and policies developed. That will help our league to improve.”

The South African PSL is ranked 10th in the world and first in Africa.