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BFA to the rescue

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BFA to the rescue

Association bails out 8 BPL teams

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has thrown eight Premier League teams a lifeline in the form of P40, 000 loans.

The bailouts, dispatched earlier this week, are to help the financially struggling sides cover outstanding payments for their players’ April salaries.

The beneficiaries include: Extension Gunners, TAFIC, Miscellaneous, Prisons XI, Mahalapye Railways, Notwane, Gilport Lions and Molepolole City Stars.

Before the BFA stepped in, their had been rising panic amongst the teams after some of their players were reportedly threatened with eviction over unpaid rentals.

The normally cash-strapped association were in a position to help after receiving a US$500, 000 (P5 million) Operational Fund from FIFA.

It proved to be a timely intervention.

Speaking to Voice Sport on Thursday, BFA Vice President, Marshlow Motlogelwa explained FIFA – the sport’s global governing body – had released the operational funding due to member associations for the years 2019/2020.

BFA to the rescue
HELPING HAND: Motlogelwa

It is the first step of FIFA’s Relief Plan to assist the football community impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Motlogelwa further explained that under normal circumstances they would only have received the full donation upon fulfillment of specific criteria.

However, because of the disruption caused by Covid-19, all 211 FIFA affiliated associations received the entire amount.

“The money will be used to mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19 on the associations to meet financial or operational obligations that we have. The association also has employees that need to be paid their salaries and take care of other bills,” declared the BFA’s second in command.

“We decided to take part of the money to assist some clubs through BPL. We understand that most of our teams do not have sponsors and they rely on selling merchandise and gate takings. Now that football activities have been suspended for over a month, they are struggling financially,” continued Motlogelwa, adding in total the bFA gad sent the Premier League P320, 000 to cover the eight teams.

He revealed they are still waiting for the Relief Fund from FIFA to help clubs directly, adding they expect to receive the monies – although he did not disclose how much – by the end of the week.

Additionally, the VP said they have also submitted their budget for the Government Relief Fund but are yet to hear back from the Minister of Sports.

On the issue of Covid-19 subsidies, Motlogelwa said BFA submitted clubs’ payroll but it was disappointing that most of the teams did not comply.

“Players do not pay as they earn because teams are failing to pay their full monthly salaries and some have arrears which makes it difficult to pay tax. Some teams did not even pay their annual subscriptions to Registrar of Society and can be de-registered at any time and thus would automatically lose their BFA affiliation!” warned Motlogelwa, adding this could potentially return to haunt the offending clubs once Coronavirus is finally banished.

‘This is likely to backfire because Botswana Unified Revenue Services now have teams’ database and they will make follow-ups after Covid. Some of our teams do not comply which will end up affecting players and we have always warned them. This pandemic will expose them,’ he predicted darkly.

As for a possible return to league action, Motlogelwa admitted the unpredictable and unprecedented nature of the pandemic has made it difficult to plan for such.

However, if things go well, he revealed they are considering letting teams resume training for the first three weeks of June with fixtures commencing in the fourth week.

He added it would mean next season starting in January and ending in December.

For the country’s football starved fans, following the famine of April, a feast could be on the horizon!

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BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend

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BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend

On Monday Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare revealed the government’s plan to help the elite and second-tier leagues with player’s salary subsidies respectively.

Minister Rakgare stated that 25 players of all the 16 teams in the BTC premiership will be paid P2, 500 whilst first division players will each receive P1, 500 for the months of April. May and June.

Teams were expected to submit the required documentation for verification and due processes this week.

The Minister said it was inevitable for government to intervene as sports was the first discipline to be affected by Covid-19, citing the Mares Under 17 trip to Morocco that never materialized.

The Mares were scheduled to face their Moroccan counterparts for a return leg of the FIFA World Cup qualifier in March.

He further revealed that the subsidy is part of the P70 million set aside by the ministry to cushion the impact of Covid-19.

BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend
SPORTS MINISTER: Rakgare

“The subsidy is only for Batswana players, technical and office staff and monies will be directly deposited to player’s bank accounts to avoid situations where teams might use such funds for their daily expenses,” he said.

He further revealed that referees will be assisted through the FIFA relief fund as agreed with BFA.

Letshwiti hailed the intervention, which he said will cushion the effects of the pandemic on the socio- economic lifestyles of players and technical members involved in running of the clubs.

“This will also go a long way in giving club leaders a reprieve during this challenging time,” he said.

The BFA President said club leaders and owners are custodians of football events and this financial assistance is critical in sustaining players and eventually the clubs they represent.

“The BFA is truly humbled by this noble gesture of unity. We have since availed P40,000 to BPL clubs as a reprieve to help clubs mitigate these devastating consequences,” he saud.

He further said, together with their partners, including government, they continue to discuss sustainable means to get football out of the woods.

“We truly are encouraged by the posture adopted by Honorable Minister Rakgare in finding the most reasonable and practical solution to the problems football faces in the country,” Letshwiti said.

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Teranga lions’ world cup legend retires

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Teranga lions’ world cup legend retires

Montpellier’s veteran former Senegal attacker Souleymane Camara has retired after 13 seasons with the side, club president Laurent Nicollin said on Monday.

Camara, 37, played a record 423 times for the outfit where he won the Ligue 1 title in 2012 and made the last of his 35 international appearances in the same year.

“We spoke on Friday and the decision was taken,” Nicollin told A French newspaper.

“He’s now thinking about what he’ll do next. We’ve given him some time to know what he wants to do, if he wants to coach here. We’ve left the door open,” he added.

Camara started his career with Monaco in 2001 before a loan spell at Guingamp and joining Nice four years later.

He was part of the Senegal squad which beat the then holders France en route to the historic 2002 World Cup quarter-finals.

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