- Warns clubs and BFL to get things right or else …
- Applauds BFL for successful season last year
Botswana Football Association president Maclean Letshwiti has warned local clubs against failing to comply with club licensing requirements.
Speaking at last weekend’s Botswana Football League General Assembly, the BFA leader emphasised that BFL must enforce compliance among clubs in order to fulfil the three-year professionalisation drive that it has proposed.
BFL, previously known as the Botswana Premier League, was granted autonomy by the BFA in 2020 after years of seeking independence from the local football governing body. In the setup, BFL became a special member of the BFA while maintaining full control of its own affairs.
Last season was BFL’s inaugural season as an independent entity but it managed to fulfil its mandate of completing the season.
Said Letshwiti: “The first season under the BFL banner, the league went well with all games being played as scheduled. As we are all aware, it is not only completing league fixtures that a structure, a corporate entity such as yours, building up to the professional level, concerns itself with.”
The BFA president had a few pointers for BFL about where they need to improve. “The purpose of the BFL in terms of the MOU between you and the BFA is that we must commercialise and professionalise football.
“Football must get to an acceptable level of governance run by professionals under a completely independent Board of Directors. This is a three-year plan. This plan is non-negotiable. Governance is our core principle in this mandate.
“The execution of the operational plan is therefore the consequence of your action. This requires effective implementation. We need to reflect candidly and ask ourselves where we are and what the status of the league is today.
“Whether what we seek to achieve is possible with the speed at which we move with the resources we have. I am aware that about eight clubs have failed to comply with expectation of the operational plan.
“I say this because prior to commencement of the BFL-run league, a number of activities were arranged by the BFA NEC and myself, including the various engagements of clubs in the BFL. These events were intended to expose to our clubs at the top level what steps they ought to follow in order to reach the lofty heights of professionalism.
“It was our dream and vision to bequeath to the BFL at some point in future a league that is truly on its way to acquiring professional status.”
The main topic of discussion in the president’s address was club licensing. The development has proved to be a troubling issue for most local clubs with up to eight teams said to have struggled to live up to the standards required to attain professionalisation.
“I have with great sadness taken note of what has been happening and are deeply worried about the pockets of resistance by some of the clubs whose attitude towards professionalisation of clubs has basically brought football into disrepute,” said Letshwiti.
“I repeat club licensing, like governance, is non-negotiable. Club licensing will be automated from next season. You must therefore buckle up because club licensing will have very little to do with the BFA or BFL. It is you who must do all the work and failure to be at speed with technology will close you out.
“This is probably the future yardstick of whether you want to play with the big boys or not. We will not compromise the standards and the professional bodies who adjudicate on your compliance have demonstrated to all that they will remain as impartial and neutral as possible, and will judge without fear or favour.
“My message to you today is simple: Do your work. Do it right, and do it yourself. My committee and I can only regulate football and make it conducive for you to play but I can’t do all the work for you. Failure to achieve professional football and commercialisation will not be accepted under my leadership.
“Remember at all times, that if you fail to manage yourself and the league, we will be forced to do the undesirable, which is to take over the league and manage it as the BFA.”