…as broke BPL fails to pay them
Despite the fact that Botswana Premier League (BPL) is currently swimming in debts – some dating as far as 2017 – CEO Thabo Ntshinogang has maintained that they had a great season on the field.
During the BPL assembly which was held last week it was shared that the league currently has a P3 million debt which is owed to various creditors to an extent that clubs have given out some money to support the cash-stripped BPL. In addition to that clubs have agreed to relinquish two months of grants in order to ease the BPL financial struggles.
While all clubs have been paid their prize monies and monthly grants for the season, it is the referees who are the worst causalities.
According to sources, referees are not yet paid some of their dues for the just ended season, something which Ntshinogang was diplomatic about and not willing to discuss at length.
“First let me indicate that although referees expenses are one of the items which do not have direct funding, we always endeavour to pay for all their expenses and also pay their fees. It will not be different this season. The season has just ended and we are reconciling a list of all our creditors including the referees and as usual we will endeavour to pay those who we owe,” he said.
One of the organisations which are owed is Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) for use of their stadia during league matches; however Ntshinogang has indicated that part of the money has been paid.
At this stage preparations for the annual BTC Charity Cup should be in full swing. Last year BTC committed P3 million for a period of three years for the Cup. However Ntshinogang said they are not certain if the off season one-day tournament will be staged this year. “By the look of things, it doesn’t look like the Charity Cup will be played in the month of August as last season. Remember the cup is sponsored by BTC so we have not received any information from either Botswana Football Association or BTC surrounding the Charity Cup,” said Ntshinogang.
On the field Ntshinogang has maintained that they had a very good season despite a tight schedule. “Our teams competed fiercely throughout the season, as you may have realised, the winners of the league were decided with only one game to spare. Contention to stay in the Top 8 by some clubs was also very high. We introduced double headers at the beginning of the season and although they didn’t start well at the beginning, but when clubs started realising their value, they started embracing the arrangement,” he said.
Furthermore, he said, we ran a very tight schedule and finished the league on time despite another competition being introduced half way through the season.
“We also introduced new sponsors during the season which helped us in areas that needed funding. During this past season we also organised workshops together with La Liga, where they came to run workshops for our clubs. Clubs participants were taught about marketing, sports projects and Economic Control. The workshop on Economic Control was especially good for most clubs as it aimed at giving clubs tips and ideas of how to reduce their debts. In a nutshell, we had a very good year with few challenges which we will address before and during the next season,” he said.