The Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Maclean Letshwiti says there is no going back on Club Licensing, but certain requirements will be waived in light of the impact of COVID-19.
The association has said clubs have to be compliant in order to get licenses to participate in the 2021-2022 season expected to kick off in August. Letshwiti, in an interview this week, indicated there will be no provisional licenses.
“There won’t be a provisional license, it’s either you have a license or you don’t,” he said. Letshwiti said the BFA cannot afford to postpone the implementation of Club Licensing.
“The matter has been pending for a very long time and this has had negative consequences on the development of football in Botswana, especially the Premier League. We have been talking about it now, it is going to be implemented,” he said. However, due to the impact of COVID-19, Letshwiti said some of the requirements will be waived to lessen the burden on clubs. “What we are going to do, because we understand the situation, is apply the basic minimum. We will wave other requirements.
As BFA and CAF, we have to walk them through; it has to be in a gradual manner. We are going to be supporting them. We are not going to make it impossible for clubs to comply. Right now we have to hold their hand.
If we come heavy on them, they might collapse,” Letshwiti said. He added that the basic requirements would be issues like a club having an office, signing contracts and paying players, as well as hiring a qualified coach. Although they have not discussed the areas to be waived, Letshwiti said they will not charge affiliation fees or penalties for the coming season.
“There is the basic minimum like players must be paid, they must have a contract, a club must have where they operate from. Obviously, you cannot run a club if you do not have an office.
You should have a qualified coach. So we are going to go right to the bone and be basic with the requirements. The basics must be in place.
Things like affiliation fees and penalties, we will not charge this season,” he said. “We should try and make it easy for them to qualify. There won’t be drastic punitive measures where they don’t qualify.
They will be given time to address the anomalies. However, where we give concessions, if you don’t redress then you will be expelled. But we are doing everything in a friendly manner.”
The BFA and its latest offspring, the Botswana Football League (BFL) are preparing for the start of the season, almost 16 months after football activities were halted in March 2020.
Letshwiti said the BFL would receive support from the mother body, the BFA, as the new organ seeks to establish itself as an autonomous body.
“I am there to support and not interfere, to ensure they have proper autonomy going forward,” Letshwiti said.