Sports bodies, athletes and sportsmen are celebrating the decision to lift the ban on sponsorship and partnerships between sporting codes and companies trading in alcohol, recently announced by government.
Happy about the return of alcohol industry to the games, Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) Publicity Secretary, Taolo Tlouetsile lamented that all sporting codes were negatively affected by the ban because beverage companies can extend sponsorship to numerous sporting codes at the same time. When the ban came into effect, sponsorship from such companies became limited to a few non-sporting organisations. “We are happy about lifting of the ban. It is our hope that the alcohol industry will return in their known spirit of catering for many of us,” said Tlouetsile, adding that they will soon approach the companies for possible partnerships.
The Ian Khama administration imposed a ban on alcohol companies from advertising and sponsoring sporting activities, seriously compromising sports development and growth. The country's then sole alcohol beverages brewer, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) used to sponsor several sporting programmes in the country. Sporting codes such as soccer, karate and rugby benefited from the partnership before.
The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) has already allowed for the local sporting codes to pursue sponsorship from such companies. Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Chief Executive Officer, Falcon Sedimo appreciated the development saying it will reduce the burden on government by supporting sporting codes. He highlighted that sport associations will no longer rely on the already insufficient government grant allocated to them through BNSC. “This means that the money that we would have been forced to give to a particular sporting code could be channelled to other avenues of sports development. This will help because we will not be overstretched as an entity. The costs that we would have ordinarily borne means that the weight is divided between different entities,”Sedimo highlighted.
Sedimo added that the decision is also a welcome development especially in a time of Covid-19 pandemic when most of governments funding is diverted to fighting the scurge. He encouraged sporting codes which have the ability to attract sponsorship from the alcohol industry to freely pursue them without necessarily needing to first engage government or BNSC.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages at sport events has also been permitted. BNSC recently informed the National Sport Associations that consumption of alcoholic beverages at sport events must not be at the expense of the acceptable age limit requirement, public safety and health. Policies/guidelines will follow that must be taken into consideration in dealing with sponsorships from companies trading in alcohol, which will be informed by relevant law and regulations, BNSC advised.