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Ground-less BRU pays Hogs over P100,000

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Wharic Park generates over P100 000 in stadium fees for Gaborone Hogs
The Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) has been accused of neglecting its stadium development programme, instead forking out over P100,00 every season for the use of Wharic Park, which is home to the Gaborone Hogs.

The national team uses Wharic Park for training and that comes at a cost. A source said Hogs is the dominant team as evidenced by the composition of the BRU committee.

The BRU president, Elijah Jones, is a Hogs member.

The source said companies have been sponsoring Hogs while the league remains without a sponsor.

“Companies like to be associated with Hogs because it has its own ground.

Maybe if BRU had its own facility, it was not going to be difficult to find league sponsorship. We have a plot, but the committees that we put in office are ignoring its development,” the source said.

He said the project is being delayed as there is no proper handover when committees leave office. He suggested that there should be full time employees to focus on the project. He said maybe the new BRU strategic plan that gives the committee a four-year term would help.  The source credited Dave Gilbert as having sourced sponsorship during his tenure where teams were given grants and the national team had a sponsor.

Gilbert has already sought a waiver from the Africa Rugby Federation to stand in next month’s local elections as he holds a continental post.

BRU president, Jones, dismissed the allegations as baseless.  He said

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BRU still pays when the national team uses either the National or the University of Botswana (UB) stadia. He said Wharic Park is cheaper compared to UB and National stadia. Jones said Hogs have been accommodative towards BRU. He explained the delay in developing the BRU plot has been due to lack of funds.

“We are struggling to find a league sponsor, which means to develop a plot is a mammoth task.

Maybe it is high time the government came up with a multi-purpose stadium that accommodates various sporting codes including rugby,” said Jones.

Immediate past BRU president, Bob Lekan also dismissed the claims, saying Hogs are an affiliate just like other clubs and have no control over BRU. He said the BRU pays the University of Botswana when they use the UB stadium just like they pay Hogs. Lekan said the BRU league has never had a sponsor since its inception. He said in order to secure sponsorship, the committee should have the ability to convince sponsors.

Meanwhile, the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) charges P10,500 for the use of the National Stadium for rugby. When the games are played in the evening, there is an additional P600 per hour for the use of floodlights.



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