FRANCISTOWN: Secretary general of Footballers Union Botswana (FUB), Kgosana Masaseng has said Premier League and First Division players proposed direct payments into their accounts, rather than receive government relief fund through their clubs.
Players in the Premier League will receive P2,500 while their First Division counterparts get P1,500 for the months of April, May and June.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Tumiso Rakgare said the money would be paid directly to players’ accounts.
But some clubs criticised the arrangement as they felt it raises trust issues, between an employer and employee.
They argue the arrangement has the potential to harm the reputation of the leagues. But Masaseng has defended the government’s position to pay the players directly.
“We engaged players about the government’s plan to assist them with a subsidy through the BFA. The players proposed that they be paid directly into their accounts. Their argument was that clubs have demonstrated that they cannot pay them accordingly,” Masaseng said.
“They also feared that the money could be diverted elsewhere if paid directly to the accounts of their respective clubs. We then informed the BFA about the position of the players. The association then informed the ministry to pay the players directly.”
He added that clubs should blame themselves as they have demonstrated overtime that they cannot pay players accordingly.
Masaseng said recently some clubs even chose to settle their debts instead of paying the players after they received P40, 000 from BFA. The money was meant to assist clubs deal with the impact of COVID-19.
According to Masaseng, some of the players have not been paid their salaries for more than six months.
He also reminded clubs that they were still obliged to pay players as per their contracts.
“The wage subsidy is just meant to assist clubs to effectively pay players,” he said. He added that FUB would continue to deal with clubs that do not pay players as per their contracts.
Botswana Premier League board vice chairperson, Kelisitse Gilika could not comment on the arrangement to pay players directly.
“As the board we have not had an engagement to that effect with clubs which is why I cannot comment.”
On the other hand, BFA chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo said it was a good arrangement.
“That is a fair position (that the money should not have been paid directly to players) from clubs but as the BFA we implement what has been agreed with government looking at the interest of both parties.”