The Botswana Football Association (BFA) coffers are set for a major boost as the FIFA is expected to release $1.5million (approximately P17 million), through a coronavirus (COVID-19) Relief Fund.
The figure would potentially rise to P34 million if the local association utilises an interest-free loan facility provided by the world soccer governing body.
BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti said the funds would go a long way in assisting football stay afloat during the uncertain COVID-19 times.
“It (the fund) is to ensure that our football structures are intact when we return. That’s the whole purpose. The money has been approved but not released. It comes with very stringent conditions on how the funds are used. The funds would be $1 million for each member association, and $500,000 specifically for women’s football.
“In addition to that, we are entitled to borrow a maximum 35% of our audited FIFA approved turnover. If I take last year’s turnover, we are entitled to borrow up to P17 million. In total, P34 million is available to the association,” Letshwiti said. He added the repayment of the loan would be towards future grants. “It is a good gesture from FIFA to football. But the important factor to note is the (good) governance at FIFA, they were able to attract sponsors and build those reserves. But the money (Relief Fund) comes with stringent controls, (it’s) like a loan,
He said the same criteria FIFA uses to release funds to associations, is the same method the BFA would use to disburse to its members. The expectations are that BFA affiliates should account, and use the money for intended purposes. Letshwiti said referees, coaches and players would benefit from the funds. BFA’s 17 regions are expected to get the lion’s share.
The Botswana Premier League (BPL), which has been dodged by perennial financial challenges, would also smile to the bank.
The BPL is moving towards professionalism, a process being overseen by former FIFA development officer, Ashford Mamelodi. The process has shifted into gear, as all clubs are expected to have transformed at the start of next season.
“Clubs are likely to struggle during the transition that is why we will consider assisting them. We might consider a loan to assist the BPL to transit from a society to a private entity,” Letshwiti said. Women’s football, with critics arguing, has been left behind for far too long and would be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Letshwiti said the money would ensure women’s mass participation, and put firm structures in place.