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BPL moves towards curbing financial rot

KABELO BORANABI
Botswana hopes La Liga will offer the solution PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The Botswana Premier League (BPL) has taken a giant step in its efforts to curb the dire financial environment in the league. In April, the BPL turned to La Liga in search of a strategy that would help keep struggling clubs afloat.

The BPL then sent a delegation to the Spanish capital, Madrid to meet the La Liga bosses on a four-day benchmarking trip. Following the trip, the two entities singed a Memorandum of Understanding that mulled the introduction of financial control measures in order to curb local football’s financial challenges.

This week, the 16 BPL clubs were drilled on the proposed economic control system by a team from the Spanish La Liga. The workshop targeted educating the local football bosses on topics such as marketing, sports projects and financial control.

Speaking at the official opening of the three-day workshop, the Botswana Football Association vice president, Segolame Ramotlhwa said the seminar has come at the right time as the local clubs are in dire financial problems.  He, however, said the current problems have been due to non-compliance by the teams to obligations such as club licensing. 

He pleaded with the clubs to comply with such measures, as compliance would be the first step towards professionalising the game.

“We have made financial commitments we cannot meet. We need to be frank and identify the problem so we can solve it. If you look at it, we have distorted the local football market,” he said. “We still have teams failing to meet their commitments like paying salaries. We have put our clubs in serious financial problems. With these problems, to be honest, the sponsors cannot come our way for both the teams and the league itself.”  For

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his part, La Liga global network delegate in South Africa, Enrique Suay said leagues around the world have adopted the strategy and through the seminar local clubs will learn to be self-reliant.

“The model that we used in the La Liga has been adopted in Europe and across the world. It produces results, as clubs are able to manage their finances. This is a model we intend to introduce to the BPL as we intend to make the clubs more self-sufficient,” he said.

“Through the statistics, you have learnt how the Spanish teams managed to turn around their financial situations, so we will be hoping the BPL clubs can learn a lot in the few days of sharing knowledge.” The economic control system has seen a turnaround for the La Liga, which had a debt of €2.4 billion at the start of the 2011-2012 season.  Through the programme, the clubs were restricted in their expenditure, including players’ salaries, according to the club’s financial stature. The programme prevented clubs from spending beyond their means hence helping reduce the debt to almost nothing in a period of three seasons.

Local clubs continue to owe both current and former staff.  Due to the troubles, teams have in the past failed to honour fixtures with the latest case involving Mochudi Centre Chiefs, who failed to make it to the Miscellaneous encounter earlier this month.  The three-day workshop started on Tuesday and ended yesterday.



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