The weekend’s BoFiNet Softball League action hangs in the balance after match officials threaten to boycott the games over their general welfare.
The situation escalated last weekend when matches that were scheduled for Lobatse were cancelled due to the absence of officials.
The umpires were expected to meet yesterday evening to decide the way forward. One of the items in the agenda included boycotting weekend league matches. One of the umpires, Simon Jautse told Mmegi Sport yesterday that the way they are treated by the Botswana Softball Association (BSA) executive committee is heart breaking. He said the issues that umpires complain about range from allowances to security among others.
“We have long spoken about these issues but the committee has been promising that they are being addressed. It is clear that nothing is being done to assist us,” Jautse said. Jautse said the committee ignores the fact that umpires are volunteers and they do not have a contract with the BSA, predicting a lot other umpires are going to quit as a result of poor conditions. He said umpires who are expected to continue officiating are from Police VI and BDF VI as they are civil servants and are not expected to engage in industrial action. “To them it is an order from their superiors,” he said. It was also revealed that there are differences between the southern zone and the executive committee.
Contacted for comment, BSA technical development officer, Shaka Bonang said the concerns of umpires are being addressed. Southern zone general manager, Kelebogile Ditsele said
But Bonang denied knowing anything about the cancellation of games yesterday. “I am not aware of the postponement of the games. Ask Ditsele, it is her responsibility,” he said.
According to information reaching this publication, Ditsele had communicated with the national executive committee about the situation on Friday.
“The southern zone is currently using Police IX and BDF IX officials for our league. When these teams are playing we face a shortage of officials. Please note that from this coming weekend the games will be spreading to other venues. I foresee other venues without officials,” reads an email which Ditsele sent to Bonang on Friday.
It further states that the zonal scorer had advised that scorers will not officiate until their grievances have been attended to as they have given Bonang’s office 14 days to address the issues but the period had elapsed with no communication. The zone is left with only three scorers; two from Police IX and the zonal scorer.
BoFiNet public and corporate affairs officer, Shadi Linchwe confirmed that they are aware of the situation that has engulfed BSA. She said they have engaged with the association to resolve the matter.
Linchwe confirmed that funds for officials’ allowances were released together with the league sponsorship money.