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BTC injects P5 million into the premier league

SHARE   |   Thursday, 12 September 2019   |   By Baitshepi Sekgweng
BFA President Maclean Letshwiti BFA President Maclean Letshwiti

Following  a broken  down relationship between  Botswana Premier League (BPL) and Botswana  Telecommunications   Corporation(BTC)  towards the end of last season, the  two parties   have mutually   agreed  on P5 million sponsorship deal for the 2019/2020  season .In the  initial contract  which was  penned in  2017  BTCL   did commit an amount of P13 million  per season but following  breach of contract by the BPL   the  two  parties settled  for  a reduced   amount  just for  BTC to  finish  up their  contract which  ends this season. The new amount marks a reduction in the sponsorship by   62%    which is equivalent to the P8 million which has been scrapped off.

Key amongst the  issues   which led to  BTC opting    for  low figures  is  the  failure  to meet  the   agreed  number   of  games   to  be  broadcast  live on television. As part  of the   2017 deal 60 games  were  to be   beamed live  but only  achieved  42  by the  time the  league  concluded last  season. Therefore this was a financial lose to BTC due to lose of mileage. However   despite the reduced   sponsorship BTCL   still remains as the title   sponsor of the   premier league. Speaking at the launch of the sponsorship BTCL Chief Operations   Officer Edward Wicks said,

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“Our commitment to local  football  has  been  for  over  a decade  now  and we have come together  with  a new  deal  so it’s our mandate to   put  value for this sponsorship and  attract  people to  football in Botswana. A lot has been going around in terms of trying to professionalize the clubs as well as commercializing the game. We need  to  find ways  of   getting  fans to the grounds  to support  the game and teams such that  we  develop an exciting and relevant product which will add value  to all the  stakeholders. So we hope by the end of the season the partnership will be fruitful and we will all be happy and so hopefully we will extend the sponsorship for the upcoming   years,” he said.

Since the league has already kick started   and going into the second week there has been some massive changes in how things are done. Some of the initiatives such as tickets sales and payments of stadia   which were introduced during the leadership of Jagdish Shah as the BPL chairperson has been reversed. In an interview with this publication, Botswana Football Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo said they got rid of the initiatives because they were not bearing fruits.

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“Tickets are now back at the BPL  office, they are  centralized  there  because   back then the board took a decision  to  give teams the  powers  to sell  tickets  such that   they  are able to  generate  some funds for  themselves. Fair and  fine that’s  what they  believed   could work  for them  but the review  is the arrangement was going to give  us problems  as time went  on because I  remember  there was a time  when a certain team  just  used  exercise books  to make  tickets .And that  in terms of the image of the  product and sponsor  it was not putting us in a good way because  tickets have to be  branded with  the  colors of the  sponsor. So by going to this old model of BPL being in charge of tickets we are closing those gaps,” said Mfolo.

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 He further  said  they  are starting  the  league on a clean   slate  except  for   payments  for  stadia where  they still owe  Botswana National Sports Commission. During  the offseason  news were rife   that   the premier  league   did  owe  referees  some  back pays since  the BPL  was in  great debts. “Our referees are paid   too and we have agreed that this season we will pay them on quarterly basis. In terms of stadia there  was an agreement of once off payment  and  that  didn’t work   too so we should just accept  that  the easier way is to  pay  25%   so  this is the model  now. We have agreed on a payment plan with them such that we clear the debt that’s why we are using the stadia,” he said.



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