There is no orderly rolling down of the beMOBILE Premier League curtain. Despite the act on the pitch closing, the curtain is still stuck in the rails thanks to a soft bane. Increasingly, forfeited points are proving to be the ultimate, soft deal breakers, argues Staff Writer, MQONDISI DUBE
Traffic towards the Botswana Premier League boardroom has increasingly been heavy. The 2014/2015 campaign will go down in history as a season in which the Premier League office recorded an unprecedented number of protests.
The soccer fields will go quiet after this weekend as the season closes, but boardroom floodgates will open yawningly wide. In fact, action will furiously continue with game-changing consequences for some teams in the boardroom.
The BPL Disciplinary Committee has its hands full as it works to plaster a season marred by unending protests.
A number of teams are beneficiaries of forfeited points, widely referred to as ‘soft points’. The soft points effect has cascaded uninhibited down to the lower tiers and extended to women’s football. The unrelenting distribution of forfeited points has been akin to confetti at a wedding.
Satmos’ hopes of another stay in the Premier League hinge on authorities awarding them soft points.
Only on Wednesday, BR Highlanders became the latest recipients of soft points, which probably have a marshmallow feel but have a devastating, hard blow. Other cases are pending and many clubs are carrying their bowls ready to collect soft points. In the First Division, soft points are the reason behind the play-off stalemate.
Uniao Flamengo Santos argues their rivals, Mogoditshane Fighters cannot proceed to the promotion play-offs after being awarded soft points for their abandoned match against Gantsi Terrors.
In the women’s league, Township Rollers is seven points clear of their rivals, but cannot be crowned champions as the soft points are again the deal breakers.
If FC Satmos beat Notwane in their relegation decider, a play-off is in the offing if the BPL decides to award the former soft points.
Progressively, the BFA, the soccer controlling body, might want to move away from soft points and admit forfeited points as full points. The world soccer controlling body, FIFA awards full points in cases of infringement of play rules.
How soft points are awarded
(BFA Play Rules and Regulations)
5.1 Any game declared forfeited by a competent BFA authority due to the fault of a participating club shall result in a forfeiture of three (3) points and two (2) goals by the club at fault to the innocent club in the case of league games and a forfeiture of the game to the opposing club in respect of competition games.
5.3. Where teams gain goals and points through a forfeiture by others, and consequently qualify for a league championship, promotion to a higher league, or avoid relegation, and such gain has displaced other teams which would otherwise have qualified, or avoided relegation, the concerned teams shall have play-offs and the winner (s) of such game shall qualify for the league championship or promotion to a higher league or avoid relegation.
No team shall be deemed to have displaced another in terms of this regulation, where the concerned teams have gained the same number of goals and/or points through forfeiture.
6.2 Any team that fields a defaulter in a league game and a complaint or protest or information about the use of an alleged defaulter is brought to the attention of the relevant league or disciplinary committee within 30 days of the date of the said league game, shall 6.2.1 forfeit three (3) points and two (2) goals to the opposing team for every game that the defaulter shall have played
How soft points
affected the season
l Township Rollers (women) would have long been crowned champions if gained points were not regarded as soft points
l The relegation battle between Notwane and Satmos was going to be decided this weekend, with no need for a play-off (at an additional cost and time) in the event Satmos are successful
l The Premier League promotion play-off between Green Lovers and Mogoditshane Fighters would have gone ahead without a hitch last weekend
l The Premier League’s top eight battle might be affected as one of the contenders, BR Highlanders, benefitted from soft points as recently as Wednesday
The world soccer mother body, FIFA does not award soft points. Points awarded for any infringement count as full points. The Zebras benefitted from points awarded after Ethiopia fielded a suspended player.
These were full points and could have taken the Zebras to the next level of the World Cup qualifiers without being considered as soft points.
The BFA, during its general assembly in July, might consider a change meant to reduce protests, with the future clearly moving away from ‘soft points’.