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BFA rings changes to BPL

SHARE   |   Thursday, 19 September 2019   |   By Baitshepi Sekgweng
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The Botswana Premier League (BPL) and Botswana  Telecommunications   Corporation (BTC)  have put their troubled 2018/19 season behind them and agreed a reduced sponsorship of P5 million for the 2019/2020  season.

In the initial contract penned in 2017 BTCL committed P13 million per season. BTC has blamed BPL for the breakdown of relationship after they allegedly breached some provisions of their contract. 

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Key amongst the  issues   which allegedly led to  BTC opting  out is  the  failure by BPL 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  42 were beamed at the  time the league  concluded last  season.  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 Commercial  Officer Edward Wicks said: “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”.

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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 have been reversed.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo said they dropped those initiatives because they were not bearing fruits.

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“Tickets are now back sold at the BPL office. They are  centralised 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.

He said  they  are starting  the  league on a clean   slate  except  for   payments  for  stadia where  they still owe  Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC). During the offseason news were rife   that   the premier league  owed referees  some  back pays since  the BPL  was in  great debts.

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“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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