Football season faces anxious wait for completion
As COVID-19 casts its ominous shadow over every facet of life the world over, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) cannot determine whether the 2019/2020 season will be completed or declared null and void, Gazette Sport has established.
The country’s premier football authority announced suspension of all football activities until April 10 last month while President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s recent declaration of a nationwide States of Emergency led the BFA prolonging the suspension. This means all leagues and cup competitions across the country cannot go on and that the top tier league (BTC Premiership) was halted at the 20-game mark with 10 rounds to go to complete the season.
Promotions and relegations have also not been confirmed.
Meanwhile, survival of cash-strapped clubs has been cast in doubt as players’ salaries are likely to be cut or completely unpaid due to the suspension. Most clubs run on shoestring budgets and depend on monthly grants and gate takings to survive. The current suspension is thus the last straw for some of these.
Accorging to the Secretary General of the BFA, Mfolo Mfolo, the BFA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) will be guided by the BFA constitution to determine the fate of the 2019/2020 season. The NEC will also consult with key stakeholders such as the Footballers Union of Botswana and clubs because players’ contracts will be affected.
“By law, the State of Emergency halts everything and we have to abide by the rules,” said Mfolo. “At the moment the government decides everything and we have to rely on them for guidance on this issue. It is beyond the BFA’s control.”