- They reported government to FIFA over constituency leagues
- BFA wanted government to let them run the leagues
- BFA demanded P20million as administration fee for the leagues
Former President Ian Khama has accused the previous Botswana Football Association (BFA) administration of betraying government regarding constituency leagues, he also revealed that BFA demanded P20 million as administration fees for the tournament.
In 2008, the government of Botswana introduced constituency tournaments, which was the brainchild of the then President Khama. The competition was spread out across the country and was meant to keep many out of school and unemployed youths busy with football in a way of reducing their participation from social ills.
It was reported that between 2008 and 2009, government had spent P10 million in running the tournament. However the league pitted Botswana Football Association against FIFA, and was constantly condemned by most politicians as a political catch by the president. BFA under the then President, David Fani, pleaded with government to review the league and allow the football association to have an input in its roll out.
The President would however have none of it. The project was run from constituency offices and ran separate to official league structures in the country. In 2016, reports suggested that government had spent P125 million on the project now currently called the Constituency Sports Tournament and played across most sporting codes.
In an exclusive interview with Gazette Sport, the former President says government was never convinced that the BFA had the capacity to run such a project.
“It all depends on who was running the BFA at the time, they said they wanted to run it but we said you have enough problems running your own organization how can you run a complete constituency tournament. They were failing to administer their own leagues,” Khama told Gazette Sport.
“BFA said, at that time, that they were the custodians of football in the country and said they wanted to run this tournament. We asked them to prepare a proposal on how they would run it and they stated that they would need something like P20 million to run the constituency tournament, just as administration fees and we said no, we are doing it with people in the councils and constituencies and we are not even spending that amount of money that you want, so we told them to just focus on their leagues and we will do this one as the government. They (BFA) then went to FIFA and said we were interfering in football matters, but subsequently other BFA administrators did not pursue the matter,” further said the former head of state.
Former Minister of Sports Shaw Kgathi in 2010 dismissed all fears that FIFA had warned that the country risked being banned by FIFA if it did not find a solution to the running of the constituency tournaments. He said government requested the association to provide it with copies of the statutes, which were allegedly being violated.
Kgathi further revealed that after the BFA realized that government was not in a position to hand over the tournaments to the BFA, the association reported the matter to FIFA without engaging the local sports mother-body Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC).
Khama is currently patron of the BFA and recently made a donation of blankets to the association at their Annual General Assembly.